Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.

― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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The latest leg of our inland summer journey took place last week when the kids had been whisked away to Centre Parcs and Claire & I were free to pretty much do as we pleased. For parents of (youngish) children that’s a rare treat indeed! We split our time between the grown-up pleasures of a London-without-the-kids (late breakfasts, art galleries, leisurely lunches, shopping & evenings out etc.) and the altogether gentler pleasures of the boat.

For Claire the boat provided an opportunity to pause and draw breath, which tended to translate as her spending time reading or catching up on a few hours sleep; whilst for me, if the boat’s to get ahead, it meant long hours solo-manning the tiller, and it’s a chore I loved!

Accompanied by the low thrum-thrum of the engine a landscape of resonances, reminiscences, reactions, reflections and responses set up conversations with the physical landscape the boat’s passing through and formed something akin to a narrative.

Such narratives can be slippery companions, sometimes they’re the shadow of myself and  sometimes they’re the shadow of an invisible college of fellow travellers – a companionable frayed-edge presence that may never quite resolve into either outright fiction or organised thought, but nonetheless provided a dreamtime accompaniment to my days meandering along the water road.

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The only journey is the one within.

― Rainer Maria Rilke

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Altogether we had a wonderful time…

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(Based on a previous post from November 2014)

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2 thoughts on “Away 11: ‘Water Wheels…’

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