Autumnal Walks

Autumn is, without doubt, my favourite time of year. I love the changing colours of the leaves, the colder days, the way it suddenly becomes socially acceptable to live in a hoodie. This year, with the arrival of my dog, I have explored more and taken the time to appreciate the differences and changes of each passing day, the further Autumn progresses into Winter. Whilst I was always aware of the beauty in my local surroundings, the extensive walking and exploration that has taken place as a result of the dog walking has made my awareness so much more present.

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Treacle being a daredevil and jumping up on to a wall overlooking the ‘Dark Arch’ exit

One of our favourite walks is a 6-mile plus round-trip that takes in the Aberford Fly Line, a long-since disused railway line that was used by the Gascoigne family to transport coal between their colliery in Garforth and a depot in Aberford. The entire line is now a public footpath and provides my dog and I with a long, yet relatively easy, walk, surrounded by the beauty of the Parlington Estate, which the majority of the Fly Line traverses. IMG_0568.JPG
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Once you exit the Fly Line and arrive in Aberford, you can either get a bus back, or follow the road round and back to Garforth. As Treacle is usually muddy and I find the walk along the road just as beautiful as the walk through the woods, we always walk back. The path is narrow, and as you near Garforth, it crosses the A1/M1 motorway, although it is a relatively easy crossing.
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IMG_0583-0.JPGThe full walk is a significant time commitment, often taking us three hours, but the scenery and the relaxation it provides is well worth it, especially on a weekend when the weather is nice, which can be particularly difficult to find at this time of year.

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New York Bittersweet Symphony

I think of New York often. With so many television shows or movies set in the city, and friends and colleagues planning or returning from trips there, I have daily reminders that I am not there.

Travelling to the U.S. from England is expensive, and having done so approximately once a year since leaving in 2006, I have had to make the decision not to go this year. Money is not the only factor in this decision though – I have desires to see as much of the world as possible, and continually returning to NYC is preventing me from achieving this goal.

Having said all this, my heart aches from not being there. The freedom and confidence I feel whilst there is unlike nothing I have felt anywhere else. I feel at home and I feel like ME. I am myself there more than anywhere else. Whilst I’m sure people are judging me – it’s in our nature after all – I do not feel judged. I can spend the days and nights wandering the city streets with no destination in my mind and still end up where I subconsciously wanted to be all along. The smells, the sights, the people – they all feel like one thing, and that’s HOME. Despite not being born there and not having visited until I was a month short of 21, it feels natural and comfortable to me.

I long to return, to see the familiar faces that have been a part of my life for nine years now, to wander the streets and see the sights and smell the smells and just bask in the wonder of it all. For now, I am some 3364 miles away, dreaming of returning and attempting to get through the misery I am presently feeling at not being there and not knowing when I’ll be returning.

My heart will always belong to the city, no matter how far away I may be.