I'm walking the coastal path of England's south west peninsula at the moment - from Minehead in Somerset, through Devon, round Cornwall to Plymouth. Here are some of my impressions so far. I'll be back at the end of the month.
To where does it lead, this walking? Past sea-lashed stacks and blocky towers of granite, shattered into cubes, to wind-bashed headlands drenched in spume and spray. Through lush-green tunnels of feathery tamarisk, humid as the tropics, wet-warm as rainforests, dripping with hart's tongue ferns and frothy with meadowsweet.
To where does it lead, this walking? I cling to crumbling cliff-top paths on the friable margin between rock and ocean. Here both land and sea engage in tumultuous conversation: an earthy, salty, airy discourse they've been playing out for eons and will do so for eternity. There is such wildness on this Atlantic edge: the surge and suck of sea water in coves, crash and roar of waves on rock, blown spindrift and beached debris of mussels, crabs' legs, beer cans, plastic.
To where does it lead, this walking? This is the cormorant's path, the gannet's way, the corridor of peregrine and raven, domain of chough and oystercatcher. Here are dunes as high as hills, soft with sand and spiky with marram grass. Here are fulmars, wings stiff as iron, flung by the wind then shearing through it, riding the updrafts just feet from my face.
To where does it lead, this walking? To a megalith, finger of slate, riddle of rock, pointing skyward. To the bright eye of pimpernel, scarlet as flame. To a focused hawk, hanging on the wind: still point of frozen fire. These are my lodestars and runic markers, my questions and answers, my longing and release wrapped up in one.