Walking without skis

Lou and I, as is our wont, found our way out into nature. Stanmer. Turns out we coincided with a Liverpool match against Brighton, and the stadium is right there. Nevertheless the crowds were in the stadium, not the park. We could hear their singing on the wind but they weren’t everywhere.

It’s good for you, singing, particularly as part of a group. Even if it’s just the vowels and howling open shared sounds of a football song it gets you breathing together as part of a group, and aligning thoughts with breath with action. Lou and I howled along with the Liverpool fans from our vantage point in amongst the ancient cedars. The Liverpool song is from Carousel the Musical. They rarely sing the whole thing through but it’s a good piece of noise and it’s fun to sing.

We had breakfast and we took advantage of the fact that the sun was warm even if nothing else was. We sat and observed the humans.

“What are they doing?” we asked after a while. A couple were stumping around the lawn with an instructor, and everybody had a pair of long sticks like ski sticks. Lou says: “It looks like cross country skiing, but without the skis…”

Growing up, my father identified Langlaufing as the single most pointless form of exercise he could identify. It’s the crap bit of skiing, when the lift deposits you miles from the slope, expanded into a whole day. Cross country skiing? Skiing with all the joy taken out. “There’s the view, still?”

“Nah it won’t be Langlaufing without skis, that’s ridiculous,” I said, watching them, bemused. “I reckon they’re in physio. They’ve broken their backs or something. This is part of their rehabilitation.” That’s the only basis on which I can picture myself there, walking around in circles with an instructor.

On the wind we hear the instructor’s voice. He’s telling them what to do with their shoulders and their core. The two people he is teaching seem interested enough in what they’re doing. They go walking around a bit more. It’s fascinating and odd. There must be something at stake here, I’m thinking.

The instructor has something written on the back of his shirt. “Use your new phone camera, get a photo and read it…”

Nordic walking for health.

It’s cross country skiing, without the skiing or the views. Or the snow. You walk around on lawns in straight lines.

Another thing dad said… “There are a lot of people in the world. Somebody out there will buy pretty much anything.”

It’s not for me. But … It’s good for you. Like singing a football song. We all like to have a thing we do. That’s his. And he’s been doing it for over a decade now. He’ll never walk alone…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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