Sunday, 22 November 2009

Time to try it!

Recently, I had an article published in Cornwall Today, a beautiful magazine that covers anything and everything Cornish. I'd like to elaborate a little on the article. I don't want to just say 'Go moonwalking'; after a year of adventures, let me now suggest some different sorts of moonwalks to enjoy.

1. The Beach

I'll start with my favourite. The sea at night has the power to transfix the walker - the roars, the rollings tssshh, the glimmer of distant ships, the fishy smells of seaweed, the repetition, the in and out, the sloshing, the knowledge that one slip and chances of seeing tomorrow vastly diminish. There's something exhilarating, frightening, real about walking along a beach at night. Add the moon. It can be incredible. As the smooth light of the moon lays its path from horizon to beach, you can do nothing but wonder and contemplate. The rainbow of night, always just out of reach. Sea(moon)walking is a beauty for all your senses.

2. The City

A completely different experience. But still a great one, providing you don't look at anybody. No - in a year of walking through towns and cities, and stopping and talking to fellow nightwalkers, and strolling down the odd alleyway, I've never been hurt. In fact, even spending a night in violent Brighton I couldn't get a punch. A city at night, for me, beats a day-time city. Fewer people, eerie shadows, buildings lit like Christmas trees, the urban fox, the night-time scavengers. And the best thing about moonwalking a city - it's so easy. On a clear night, why not walk to the restaurant, the train station, the pub? Then walk home again. Take in the night sights and sounds. Watch the drunken youths ejected from the kebab shop. Hear the abuse. And be happy you're not a drunken reveller but instead an enthused moonwalker. (OK, expect a couple of strange looks.)

3. Fells and Tors

Nature walking at night can be very dangerous. Exciting, challenging, heart-thumpingly blood-rushing. But treacherous. Doesn't mean I'm not advising a late-night stroll across Dartmoor or the Lake District or plains or downs, but may I recommend taking proper equipment and somebody who knows where you are (and not a couple of cereal bars and an absorbent waterproof from Trago Mills). Rocks sit on puddles, mud quickly turns to a slope, eyesight takes a good 30 minutes to become nightsight. When the moon shows, she can light the hills and ravines for miles around, and an artist could paint nothing finer. But remember to take good care - or a friend who points out the chasm in front of you.

4. Rivers and Canals

I love watching water lit by moonlight - there's something hypnotic about it. Just be careful not to mistake the water for a shimmering towpath because you'll get a bit wet. On all moonwalks, it's good to keep eyes peeled for people and animals behaving strangely, as so much research suggests they will. On the river, look out for ducks threatening swans, or geese juggling their young. As the rivers and canals meander into the distance, think back to the days airforces would follow these silvery tracks to their bombing targets.

5. Somewhere You Think You Know

This can be any of the above or just your local town or supermarket car park or a local park or field or alleyway that always scared you. Try it. See somewhere you know in a different light. Make that light moonlight. Find reflections, moonshadows, hear creepy calls, cracking twigs, allow your eyes to dart, your heart to thump. Take friends, take family. Look up - see a distant glowing rock with a millenia of mystery attached and walk with her.

Have a full moon wander, a full moon gathering, use the moon as your calendar and your timekeeper. I assure you, you'll find something you didn't know, see something you've never seen before. And you'll be glad of it.

Next full moon - December 2nd 2009
Final full moon of 2009 - December 31st (New Year's Eve - blue moon!)

(If you moonwalk before the year is out, please send me your story and I'll publish what I can on the blog.)


~Cheryl said...

Rob, you are very convincing! You had me hooked with #1... and then it started getting scarey. :) Still, it's very intriguing, and I'll let you know when/if I take up your invitation by venturing out beyond my deck!

Rob Self-Pierson said...

Thank you. Do, do go for a moonwalk. You never know what you'll find - though it'll probably be safe :) And please drop me an email and let me know how you get on!