Thursday, 18 June 2015

Prep and Step Page 3/16


In my preparations for the Camino I have discovered two things. They exist at the ends of my legs and are called feet. There is one on the left and one on the right. They have it appears, existed there for many years without my being particularly aware of them. They have always done what they did and like some many things in our body, I took them completely for granted - they're down there somewhere doing what they do, why would I think about them? Except when you start doing long walks in training for the Camino, suddenly, they become very relevant. 
Very useful for balance, support, stability, navigation,putting the correct foot forward ( yes I know the expression is best foot forward but I don't want them to start being competitive. I'm not exactly sure how they do what they do but I don't want them thinking too much about it because so far they have been doing very well).
The initial training walk started with "let's go for a walk then" and off I set up to Sheep Walks - as the name implies it has sheep and walks and no I'm not going to tell you where it is as it's bad enough wading through sheep at times without failing over curious hikers. Did I mention it was steep in places ? Well, it's not exactly Kilimanjaro or even Snowdon but its very uphill in parts.

In  fact last week as I approached the base of it I came across a couple of Sunday hikers perusing a map and being eager to seem like the experienced hiker I'm not suggested they step over the style, walk through the field of horses, pass round by the lake and then carry on up and up. When I was just halfway up the first ascent I looked round to see them standing by the lake looking at the map again and then turning round to go back. While I was thinking about whether it was something I said my feet were pressing on.
I have grow to greatly appreciate my tarsals,metatarsals and phalanges - that's basically, feet, I mean why spend years studying anatomy and not mention something that sounds vaguely exotic.As I initially scrambled around trying to work out what I was supposed to be doing on this walking thing, I have grown in admiration for the unselfish thankless role our feet play in our lives. Like so many things and body parts particularly, we don't acknowledge what they do until something goes wrong with them. It amazes me we don't for the most part ever think feet.                                                                                                                   
Last year, I watched my grandson Seb take his first steps .crawl crawl crawl sit, scramble to knees, hold onto something /someone, one step two step, wobble, plop onto bottom , then crawl crawl, sit scramble, one step two step, head for something that's breakable etc you get the picture. 
But at no stage did he consider his feet.  As in  "what are these floppy things for mum  - can't eat them, can't poke anyone in the face with then ? What them for ? No it was straight up ,stand,fast forward and no looking down and not a thought about feet.

Left foot , right foot, Chlé, Dheas, Chlé, Dheas ( that's Gaelic, Chlé for left and pronounced clay and Dheas for right and pronounced as in de ass but quickly.)  

I'm reminded of school PE when I was about 6 or 7 , a cold frosty yard early in the am and an ex army sergeant, shouting chlé, dheas chlé, dheas as we marched around the yard in our vests. No time to think about feet, the consequences of not keeping up or failing out of step was a voracious earful and press ups on the concrete. I'm reminded of this as I walk but the chlé, dheas chlé, dheas, has a familiarity or a comfort and becomes like a mantra at times, particularly in the ascent as the feet press on.

I may start a feet appreciation society after this. As I scramble over hard mud furrows thick mud pools, rocky escarpments,sneaky concealed tree roots or just plain potholes, my feet are always there finding a balanced footing as best they can. They just do it . 

And there's a theme and  something I think about on the start of this Camino, which by the way looks like it has already started before I even arrive in Spain. 
There are times in Life when it is just about doing it and finding that balance. So when I'm walking and I'm tired or wet or hot or cold or just a wee bit lost, it becomes about just doing it,in the best possible way with as much balance as I can. Just like my feet keep doing it. 
It's all about keeping up with my feet .... if you ask me    
And float like a butterfly ...

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