9. Day 14: Joy In “Muddy Boots Welcome”

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in All-One, Fear of Living Joy | 0 comments

9. Day 14:  Joy In “Muddy Boots Welcome”

One of the biggest surprises in coming to England has been in discovering walking; what I thought it was, what it is here and the huge gap in between.  You may remember that I started walking daily as inspired by Holy Spirit, long before even deciding to go on this trip.  Not ever registering as an athlete of any kind, walking suited me in that I do it naturally therefore “walking” as health encouraging exersize seemed an obvious next step (pun intended;).  I have been walking 2-3 miles a day for over six months.  My walking started not as a bid for bodily health exactly but as a practice for extending love to my fear of Every Day.  As our plans for this trip began to fall into place I looked forward to carrying on my daily walk in England.  I know there is a big walking culture here and thought I would fit right in.

My first surprise re walking came in London where daily life required so much walking (some days we had done five miles just sight seeing and getting in and out of the tube stations) that there wasn’t time or need to “go for a walk”.  My practice of writing and blogging to maintain mindful awareness of my connection to Holy Spirit was going strong so my daily walk with HS could morph into true daily walking as a matter of course.

Walking to Boots Folly

Walking to Boots Folly

My next surprise came in Devon, where again I thought “Oh how lovely!  We can walk in the country!” and I discovered walking in the country meant cohabiting with traffic traveling at 60mph on a two (oft times down to one) land road.  This seemed the equivalent to me of taking a walk on Highway 99 in California in the Valley; dangerous, unthinkable and way above my willingness.

Finally I arrive in the gorgeous, rugged hills of north Yorkshire and Derbyshire thinking, here is the best place.  I know people come all over to “walk” the Peak District so I imagine lovely paths, maybe even the odd loo along the way like on the American Rive Parkway (27 miles of walkable paths). HA!  I say again HA HA!!  I feel like a lumpkin come to town.  Firstly walking here is what we would call hiking.  It is serious, lengthy and requires guts and footwear I did not possess.  Walking here are foot paths which meander through private property which may contain sheep, deer, cattle and other wildlife I would probably shudder to think of.  I realize I am from the nursery school of walking faced with a PHD trail.  I did relent and buy a pair of lovely blue wellington boots because mud is a very real fact of life here.  Not a spot of mud on the shoe you can flick off with a leaf or stick but much that splashes up the legs and gets on the hem of pants, jackets and unsuspecting gloves.  This is serious mud which is a way of life for “walkers” in England.  I have always been somehwat fastidious and a lover of clean.  I did not play in the mud though might have, as a child, made a mud cake from adding a few teaspoons of water to brown dirt to make a small bowl of “batter” for my pretend tea party.  The mud here is deep, pervasive because of the wet climate and inescapable.

Love brings you home.

Love brings you home.

My revelation came yesterday as we were walking (my kind of walking in town from pub to shop) and I began noticing signs on pubs and tea rooms:  MUDDY BOOTS WELCOME.  What a difference from the normal reminders of “No shirt, no shoes, no service” I have seen in America.  This mecca of walkers, or hikers as I would say, tramp for miles around and to and from a myriad of picturesque villages and repair to the local pub for lunch or at the end of a multi mile march.  What relief and delight to walk into town covered in mud and see a MUDDY BOOTS WELCOME sign.  I realized I might be missing something with my tending to keep to the safe and clean byways.  I don’t know if I am yet ready to strike out into the mountainous local climbs but I do own my own pair of wellies now and my willingness is growing.  Who knows?  I might even strike out across a field in the Lake District and surprise myself.  For now, one of my favorite memories was the short “walk” we took to Boots Folly (so named, no doubt, because the mud could suck a boot right of an ill planted foot).  A very Wuthering Heights sort of walk complete with piercing wind, rugged hills and nosy sheep.

The MUDDY BOOTS WELCOME sign will now be my reminder that walking with the Holy Spirit can and will take me through unknown terrain requiring things I didn’t even know I needed and that all will be revealed as needed.  Joy is MUDDY BOOTS WELCOME indeed!

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