December Reflections 12: best decision of 2020

A tarmac path leading out of sight between trees. A streak of sunlight breaks across a grassy area and illuminates three of the trees.

This hasn’t been a year for huge decisions. The one that’s made the most enduring, most positive difference, was the commitment I made back in May, to go for a walk before breakfast every work day.

I haven’t managed every day: illness, bad weather, and the increasingly tardy sunrise have occasionally stopped it happening. But I’ve managed most days in the average week, and it’s made a difference.

Usually I take the same route: south along the footpath that runs behind our house, and back again. Sometimes I go all the way to the main road; sometimes, if time is short, I turn around part way. Occasionally I go up into town instead and explore the back streets. But mostly I’m walking the same path, out and back, every week day morning, home in time for a shower and breakfast and to join Morning Prayer over Google Meet.

I’ve walked through three seasons. I’ve walked through the silence of the first lockdown and the hum of rush hour. I’ve walked through rain and frost and sunshine, freezing fog and sultry heat. I’ve come to recognise the dogs and their walkers and the young couple with cropped trousers and reusable coffee cups.

Some more photos:

I’ve come to understand a little more about where I live now, have grounded myself in space and time by taking a very small journey through the one, moving through the other the only way I can. And I return a little more awake, a little less wound up about the state of the world.

As for last year’s decisions, which I was a bit vague about at the time, one was ‘which house to buy’, and has worked out very well so far. The other unmade itself, very decisively, in January. (There’s an argument for calling that this year’s biggest decision, but it didn’t feel like a decision at all from where I was.) They were both big, and took up a lot of my headspace, and it’s something of a relief that this year has only involved little ones.

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