Long listed for the WRITE ABOUT WALKING AND LISTENING competition run in July & August 2021
Left right, left right – I am on a long walk. 600km so far across the north of Spain, destination Santiago de Compostela. I listen to my legs hitting the ground. I think of my German grandfather left-righting his way across 1941 Russia, destination Moscow.
Vast distance. Endless progression. I pass walking-wounded, bandaged and limping, and buckling under heavy packs. It’s the closest I have come to travelling a mile in his soldier boots; to understanding.
He was met with the raging roar of tanks, gunfire and death. I am greeted with smiles and cheerful ‘Buen Caminos’ that resound in the hot air, snapping me into the present like fingers. They disguise the sighs of gritty determination to push through pain, emptiness, a longing for love.
Left right, left right – the action becomes mechanical, rhythmical, beautiful even. Solid earth below, infinite sky above. We walk between, tiny but upright connectors; our two-legged movement just one of several that make us uniquely human.
My grandfather’s goal was to conquer terrain, annihilating all that was in the way. Mine is to learn the yearnings of spirit; to hear in each step the whispers of ancient wisdom that guide us to live more gently with the earth. He marched through snow and mud. I walk through sunlight and space. He had to kill and win. I need only to surrender.
Left right, left right – we all do it. All the time. But do we know where we are going?
Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.
Read more from the Long List of stories submitted to the WRITE ABOUT WALKING & LISTENING competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 26 September 2021 book here.
Buy WALKING – the 2021 limited edition illustrated chapbook anthology of 15 poems and stories inspired by walking and listening €4.50 + p&p
All proceeds go to support future Sound Walk Septembers