The South Downs Way –
A Metaphor for Recovery of Self
Dave Traxson December 23, 2013 Diagnosis & Therapy
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The day was dusking and night was fretting in
From sea to shore as it had done many many times before,
Shadowing my meandering way with a mere
Sixty strolling miles stretching elastically ahead.
The long walk begins –
The mind freshens and explodes wide
To the nighttime silhouettes and starry vistas,
Where trees and bushes are strangers waiting and crouching
To greet my deliberate footsteps into abysses of the mind.
The conveyor of random thoughts belting many recent scenes
Before my unprepared cinema of imagination.
The long walk descends suddenly -
The Hounds of Darkness appearing from the sea-weeded mist
Attacking my short-fused and unusually erupting sensibilities,
Not one famed ‘Black Dog’ but a pack,
Scavenging through the tasty morsels of my mind fruits,
Mutating as they feast rapaciously,
Lowering my resiliency and sucking my life force
Into a visible black hole vortexing towards Alfriston.
The long walk continues –
My will to continue waning,
The welcoming Inn I had stayed in before
Distancing by the second, waxing into the happening storm.
My soul sapped of the log fire warmth I had planned,
The visions of bright futures and freshly pulled pints
Draining rapidly through the plug-holes of my eyes,
Into the night-soil sewers of nearby Lewes.
The long walk continues –
I felt beached again, whaling my way
To a suffocating loneliness,
No longer armored by my coping strategies
Of which long distance meditative walking
Was a favored friend,
Mellowing the vicissitudes of life’s wanderings
As the comets of planes' taillights passed over Gatwick bound.
The long walk ebbs away –
The last of daylight dies
As if its follower, dawn, was never to come again,
And so the nocturnal void begins.
This was no ordinary depression –
The deficit of feeling is all encompassing
And from the desert of my barren soul
And frozen heart no thoughts emerge for many hours until Liss.
The long walk flows forward again –
Devoid of volition, a hollowed out self,
The end of this solitary stroll seems an eternity away,
And then as if some guiding star had caught my eye,
A brisker pace emerges from nowhere
And a mindfulness of place and purpose re kindled
Phoenixing from the ashes of my nocticide,
And a flicker of recognition arrived by Exton.
The long walk concludes –
Walking hard and breathing sweetly in the crystal air,
A friendlier conversation with self commences,
Revisiting my purposeful aims for such endeavors,
And friends’ wisdom words from past dips
Strengthening my inner resolve and optimism.
The walk is well over half done,
The spires piercing the morning sky are indeed Winchester.
Life’s long walk continues …………………