From Valkenswaard to Weert in two days. On the first day my cousin Anke is joining me. The 9 mile walk across the moors of Strabrecht and Someren are heavy. It lies at the end of this walk and still takes half the day. The almost endless horizon, the long straight paths, the oppressive heat and fatigue make slow and listless. Rain is threatening throughout the day but in the end it only falls when we are having a break in a cafe. The wheatherapp predicts rain across the moors as well, a diffuse cloudy sky that with the passing of time is blown apart into fluffy darkish yellow wadding.
It is nice to walk together and share stories and insights. At the camping site at the end of the walk she sits herself down, dead tired. “No rain, we deserved that”, she says. “Maybe luck, or just a gift”, I reply with the memory of earlier wet walking days. But the pint of beer that we are drinking, that’s what we deserved! The camping owner lends us his rickety bike to take her to the busstation in Someren. She still had a party to go to. “Did you bring her all the way home”, he says in his typical local dialect when I finally get back. That night the rain drums for a long time with quiet fingers on my tent. I am doing well.
The walking together, being in motion, sharing with each other, small victories and listening to the rain om my tent: that’s the joy of walking. My sister sent me a message from someone who had found proof on an neuroscientific basis that walking is good for us. It feels good to read that science has come to the same insights that we have already discovered. Maybe now more people will go for a walk. Let’s wait for scientific proof that walking brings joy. Perhaps people will become just a little bit more joyful.
I know, it sounds a bit blasé. But do we really need proof that something is good for us, can’t we just try and feel it? Just for a moment; stopping the brain, looking into the far distance and just let nature and the pure joy of being enter us. But perhaps that is even more difficult than ‘I think”.