So I was walking up the road the other day… it was a beautiful morning, about 7.30am, clear sky, clean country air, view of the mountains in the distance. Just another country road in the Midlands on a fine Sunday morning with views to die for.
As there was little shoulder to speak of at that point, when a car started approaching from behind, I stepped off the road into the short grass to make sure I was out of the way. Common sense, a safety-first approach.
The vehicle approaching me was a small bakkie, a Ford Bantam I think, and the driver slowed down, I think because he assumed that, being out in the middle of nowhere, I might want a lift.
I thought with the trail shoes, a walking stick, cap and a water backpack on, he would have recognised that I was out there for recreation, but apparently not.
So the friendly okie leans over, across the passenger seat, and asks me, “Do you want a lift”?
“No,” I said. “I’m taking a walk – for fun.”
A look of utter confusion, nay, dismay, crossed his face, before he quipped, “But who walks for fun?”
I smiled at him, he smiled at me, he shook his head and took off with a wave.
Bye. Sien jou later. Tot siens.
It was quite warm out, he seemed to think the heat had got to my brain.
Now to me, taking a walk to nowhere on a beautiful Sunday morning makes perfect sense. But maybe what I think is normal is not so normal, maybe “my people” ARE just a bit strange.
My “tribe”, let’s call it that, is people who want to get back to basics, to commune with nature and do simple things: walk, run, ride a bike, ride a horse, climb a mountain, swim, read a book. To me there’s something unnatural about wasting a good day stuck inside, watching TV, playing computer games, going to a mall.
And if you’re going to take a walk in the Midlands, particularly early in the morning or in the evening, there’s a good chance you could see some wildlife, maybe a duiker, reedbuck, bushbuck or serval, and a better chance you’ll see an eagle or buzzard. Pretty cool.
But I got to thinking, maybe what I think is the “right” way, the “natural” way, is just one way. Time to get down off the high horse.
And if I think about it, if more people are spending the day in the pub, on the couch, in front of a machine, it means there’s less people I need to share all that glorious nature with.
So back to the question, “Who walks for fun?”
I do, and people like me.
I wish I’d asked him, “What do you do for fun?”