For — what? — a couple of months now I haven’t been able to write. Hell, for much of that time I was barely even walking, by my standards, and no walking obviously means not much to observe and record, or whatever it is I do here with the camera and the keyboard.
Admittedly my ambulatory standards are pretty tough. Since I haven’t had much else to fill my days, little money and no work, with a torrent of confusion and doubt raining down, I set myself the target in July or August of a seven-mile minimum each day.
That number had a nice powerful feel to it, and usually I was able to achieve most of my Magic Seven before breakfast. Those miles were often the highlight of the day. I was rising early and alternating between two main local routes.
One lead directly to the waterfront and either out onto the mudflats if tides permitted or along the beachfront walking path if the brine was lapping at the seawall.
Low tide was my favourite, and I can’t describe (although I’ve tried, dozens of times, via this keyboard or pictures) the just-plain-majesty of the sun breaking clear of Moreton Island while I crouched down over stingray holes or seashells trying to capture the tide’s advance and the unmatchable blue of the ebbing night.
The other route wound through a nearby park to the bank of Cabbage Tree Creek…
…past the little flotilla of prawn trawlers moored there and out to the creek mouth.
Sunrise at the mouth always offered something interesting: pelicans, dawn rays splintering through the little jetty, fishermen casting nets, trawlers heading out to the Bay.
Then around the base of Shorncliffe…
..past the famous old pier, and along the top of the seawall towards the ultimate reward for four miles or so of ambling: caffeine.
Some time in the park with the wifi and Baldy the Magpie…
..and home for a nap before a lot of people had even started their day.
It didn’t feel like I was completely wasting my time, and I also had an ongoing and monumental project to dip into each day (I mean as well as this blog): five and a half thousand or so of my better or favourite images from five countries that I’d first edited when I didn’t know very much and wanted to finally do justice to.
But with all the worry, I needed still more distraction. For the second time — I posted about the last time here — I added another completely pointless objective to my collection: a thousand miles of mostly urban walking, recorded each day with a GPS-based app on my phone.
I started keeping a tally on September 10 last year. The mileage, and the picture pile, kept growing.
I lost interest in this Thousand Mile Thing a while back, and stopped even writing dates on the scraps of paper on which I recorded my daily totals. But I kept on dutifully scrawling numbers from force of habit.
I totalled them once — I’d reached 787.75 miles a week before Christmas — but that was that. With the onset of a serious Summer my interest and energy lagged. It was too hot to walk and too bright for my kind of pictures.
I was bored, and depressed beyond belief from a combination of setbacks. What looked like a change in fortunes turned out to be a cruel hoax. Uncertainty was king.
And the sun was rising so damned early, beating it to the water was too much damned work!
The blog spluttered to a halt, and even the new followers have dwindled away. It felt like paralysis. I’m used to feeling low, but now my last expressive outlet was jammed.
I’ve been watching TV, for gawd’s sake! My degradation was complete.
For a couple of months I wasn’t even getting up before the sun. Mileages plummeted; a couple of days I totalled Zero, or a mile or two, which is almost the same thing.
The Black Dog wasn’t just snapping at my well-worn heels, he had a good hold on my shin and was chewing his way north.
Part of it was monotony. Imagine your neighbourhood; now imagine walking a thousand miles of it in a few months.
I started going days without taking a shot, though the cameras were always in the bag (plus a new tripod and often a laptop) when I did leave the house, so at least I was getting a good workout!
Then after weeks of spluttering and wheezing, my laptop suffered a stroke and sank into a coma. Apple quoted me a repair job “in the high seven hundreds”.
That MacBook had served me loyally, several hours a day, for four years and in four countries. I’d already paid for expensive repairs and upgrades…
I sat here for a couple of days with the TV on, one arm reaching out periodically from muscle memory to make phantom adjustments to non-existent pictures.
I grieved for that damned machine!
Then my excellent parents stepped in and loaned me enough for a refurbished model a year and a half old, smaller but with a Retina screen that makes the pictures sing.
And here I am, tapping on it. Aren’t you lucky?
Almost as lucky as this guy:
I came very close to abandoning TGTW and consigning it to the outer reaches of the Ghost Blog Belt, but a week ago I resumed my morning strolls, and today I made two important steps forward.
One, I began acting on recurring faint impulses to begin a post — this post.
And two, I added up the rest of those mileages and realised I’d reached my thousand some time back.
My total is 1,142.54 miles. I think I’ll stop counting now.
So anyway, to commemorate Mania’s End and my hopefully ongoing return to blogdom, here’s a sample of pictures from that thousand-plus miles.
I had too many decent ones for one post, so I’ve split them into three posts’ worth.
Lazy blogging, perhaps, but it’s a start!
All were taken on those local waterfront or creek-side routes outlined above, and they’re presented chronologically.
Hope you like ’em.
Oh, apologies to all the commenters and followers I’ve neglected.
And finally, Happy Valentine’s Day, you-know-who! Didn’t see this coming, did ya, babe?
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote