The days have grown longer, the temperature rises. I can now luxuriate in daylight, take breaks without fear of losing temperature or walking time, sleep outside without a tent, plonk myself anywhere in green grassed solitude, no longer having to stop at a 5pm twilight, shrugging myself immediately into my featherlined cocoon, maintaining core temperature, keeping my skin covered.
Summer days means carelessness, stretching out on my back, wriggling into last years dry bracken for a post lunch cat nap.
Summer means smells; hot coconutty gorse, fresh pine fronds, thick bluebells, grass, greenery, growth.
There are no stories to tell, I just keep walking. My sister came for five days, we walked together. I traversed the short 70 miles of the Ceredigion Coastal Path, started along the Pembrokeshire section for the first of two times I'll walk this. I've seen a grey seal, thousands of bluebells, stuck my feet in streams, climbed endless steep cliffs, slept in fields, been sniffed by ponies. These things are just small highlights in a day of steady steps, hours outside, hauling myself up slopes or along cliff edges. Hair blowing in the wind, I just keep walking.
There are no peaks of excitement any more; I'm surrounded by beautiful things and kind people every day and instead of the jumpy, flushed peaks of joy there is simply a deep satisfaction of life as it should be. I walk, I manage my pain and discomfort, I cover the miles, there is nothing more.
It's simply a matter of mileage. I've come 2600 miles, I've struggled through pain, winter, mountains and just kept going, turning my legs to steely trunks. It's impossible that I would stop now.
There is nothing left for me to do but finish this; another 700 miles, more or less, give or take. I just need to put one foot in front of the other until it's done. No joy, no peaks, no expectations, just a steady parade of beauty and sunlight and pain and discomfort, delicious foods and friendly people, greenery, surprising birds and hidden sleeping places. It will continue until it's over, I just need to keep walking.