Day eight on the Wall – reaching Carlisle

As I’m finishing my breakfast at Vallum Barn, a plump old woman asks me if I would like to know a shortcut back to the Hadrian’s Wall Path.

I politely decline, explaining I want to truly walk the entire length. She smiles and wishes me well as I saddle my backpack onto my shoulders and ready my body to start another day of walking.

By day’s end I will have come to my second rest day of this journey, staying in the town of Carlisle. It will mark me crossing the eighty mile mark, yet the distance I’m walking seems to have become insignificant, or at least secondary to what is truly happening out here to me…..

Solitude. silence.
Whether by choice or by design, a quiet life is mine.
Out here in Nature, walking for hours with no music in my ears, or conversation from others has fine tuned my senses. The thunderous sound of a cow chewing on green grass, the skittish sheep that stare at me in wonder, and I back at them.
The sounds of rabbits in the thicket, and the coo of doves in the trees above.
A bee that flies directly in front of my face, its thousand eyes looking right at me.
“There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not mankind less, but Nature more…”

Spirits are high as I walk today, feeling renewed and energetic from my catharsis at the Old Church and my acceptance of the end of my time with BCK.

The closer I get to Carlisle though, the feeling of “noise” from city streets breaks the silence and solitude that I’ve grown accustomed to. I remember this feeling well coming back home from Africa too. It’s hard to acclimate back to civilization.

On the edge of town is Rickerby Park. I have time to kill before I can check into my B & B, and so I sit for a spell under a World War One memorial commemorated to those lives lost during the Great War. It is a haunting reminder once again of the sacrifices the people of the United Kingdom made during this time.

My mind wanders back to the people of Kenya. I can not avoid them any longer. I wonder….will something will happen while I am in Carlisle to help reconcile the sudden loss of my rich friendships and bonds with the children, my friends and co-workers in the slums of Kayole and Soweto?

I’m reminding of the words of J.R.R Tolkien again…

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite something you were after.”

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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