I've been on a bit of a learning curve recently. Last week I learnt it was ok to take pleasure, pride even, in enjoying things for their own sake AND I learnt it was ok to share that vulnerability. Not just to present a polished version of myself to the world but to go for it warts and all. Yesterday I climbed a bit further up the parabola and realised how comforting and reassuring the familiar is.
Occasionally I go out to groups to give a talk about our long distance walk, A Dales High Way. I chat a bit about growing up in the Yorkshire Dales and the gulf that existed between us, the farm kids who treated the fells as our back yard, and the hikers who came searching for the countryside that we took for granted.
I confess to my own damascene conversion when I realised that fell walking was the way back from my adult life as a townie to the landscape that I love so much. And finally I take the audience on a whistle stop tour of A Dales High Way itself, 90 miles in about 19 minutes, a slide show of the best views of the walk.
Normally I look forward to these events. I enjoy them very much. But yesterday nerves got the better of me. I spent several sleepless nights convincing myself that I had nothing to say, no pictures to show, that my audience wouldn't have heard or seen before. That they would know far more than me and at best they'd be bored and at the very worst they'd think I was a jumped up imposter who had no business being there.
And I was right in a way. Yesterday's audience were very well informed, very experienced. They were people who had walked or farmed or lived in the Dales for decades. They did know more than I ever would but when I looked out at their faces all I saw were smiles of recognition and nods of agreement and I realised that we don't always want to be entertained by the novel or the new. Sometimes we get great pleasure from the comfort of the familiar.
Onwards and upwards Chris. Onwards and upwards.