Walking Through Childhood

Muriel Courtenay

I come from a family of walkers.
Because we didn’t have a car,
we walked happily through life –
well, yes, just a little stab of envy
for those who passed us in style.

Sundays we walked to a stone church,
our ancestors helped to build it,
the pioneers of the district,
taking time out from the ploughing
to pray for the bounty of a good season.

We walked through the crisp evenings
to school concerts, dances, bridge,
tournaments, talking and star gazing,
laughing a lot at family jokes, asking
riddles, reciting Lawson and Paterson.

We walked to school, to sports days,
tennis and cricket matches and
on the way home discussed the merits
of the participants and all the local
gossip caught up with on the day.

Family walks too, hunting mushrooms
or picking the beautiful wild flowers,
enjoying a picnic by the creek,
still talking and savouring the experience.

Perhaps that’s the secret of harmony,
families that walk and talk together
get to know a lot about each other and
a lot about life too. The act of walking
loosens the tongue and thoughts fly out.

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