Six o'clock came and off we set. Seven people. Fourteen feet that moved us. An undrawn line lay ahead in the landscape. And on that line were unknown things. All we knew was that the line we'd draw would be a line through summer, a line through the onset of evening, a line by the sea.
The work day had ended. The weekend had not yet begun. In the space between the two we found ourselves. It was a quiet space. There were few cars on the road, few people in the street. The air was still and hung about us like a bell made of glass. Each sound was trapped by it, given brittle resonance.
At the sea, the promenade took us west. Far off, the sun fell beyond a lip of cloud to bruise the grey sky yellow. A lone jet ski buzzed and slapped across the water, disappeared down the coast. In its place, only the swoosh of the tide upon the shingle. Two silent gulls sailed overhead.
A barbecue smouldered. The horizon stretched out. We turned inland, slowly climbed up the cliff. At the top we were half way through our walk, and broke our silence for its remainder. Coversation bubbled. We talked about many things. About why we walk. About silence. About things we'd seen or heard, things we'd not normally have noticed.
It was pleasant to talk. And as is the way on a walk, strangers seemed at ease together. A walk gives us all something in common. A shared experience. Briefly we are a community. Not a community of nomads, though we travel, but something more pedestrian. We are just people. Just bodies in a shared landscape. We move through it in our own ways, but together. It may be as simple as that.
If you would like to join us for a silent walk, please do come along. It’s entirely free, and we’d love to see you there. The next one is on Saturday 30th July. We meet outside the foyer of Folkestone Quarterhouse at 9.00am. Walks last for one hour and end back where they begin. Dogs and children are welcome. You can find out more at https://www.quarterhouse.co.uk/whats-on/in-praise-of-walking