On Walking Through a Muddy Meadow and Realizing I Love Myself

Written on 27 January 2015.

I’ve been so busy the past few days that I’ve hardly had time to realize I’m nearly halfway through my second week of tutorials. The past seven days have been filled beyond the brim with reading, and writing, and more reading, and eating lots of cheese, and occasionally speaking to another human being, and then plenty more reading on top of all that. To be sure, I am loving it. At least as much as I can. This morning, as I was finishing up two essays, I realized I was literally in pain from sitting at my computer for so long without moving. Thankfully, in Oxford, you can walk for ten minutes and end up in the middle of a peaceful meadow, so once I submitted my papers, I promptly took off to like… remind my body that it has legs.

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These post-paper-submission walks have become a somewhat regular Tuesday habit for me. Port Meadow is probably my favorite stomping ground (and I do mean stomping, because there is often quite a lot of mud), seeing as it is the closest to my house, and there are so many different ways to go once you get there.

Two roads blah blah blah

Two roads blah blah blah

Apparently, some people have been lucky enough to spot horses and other wild animals when they go to the meadow, but for me its generally pretty solitary, which I am completely okay with. Typically, I only run into the occasional dog-walker or jogger, whose pace is decidedly quicker than mine, so it isn’t long before I’m alone again. Today, as I happened upon a particularly muddy path–the kind of mud that sucks on your shoes, as if it wants to keep them for its own purposes–a jogger darted around the corner and laughed at me (good-naturedly) as I trudged my way through the muck. Their own lightness of foot kept them above the mire, as if they had some Jesus-like mud-hover-jogging capabilities.

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I realized moments after they were gone that I wasn’t at all embarrassed by the fact that I looked so out of place. I realized that I actually really love myself. I love that I trump through the muddiest parts of the meadow in boots and a skirt, completely ill-equipped for the terrain. I love that I write melodramatic poetry in my head when I see trees hovering low to the ground as if whispering to the waters streaming beneath, or branches covered in yellow bark that looks like a fairy-made sweater. I love that I walk instead of run, that I can smile like my dad at random strangers and have them occasionally smile back. I love that I can go out alone and feel entirely captivated by my own thoughts. I love that I talk to myself out loud sometimes, and that when I originally thought that thought, I said it out loud and laughed at myself.

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I hope that one day, when I’m old and my words are delicately chosen, as any one could be my last, that I can whisper “Friend, we’ve had a good ride,” and be talking to myself.

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