September 2016

From the Dragons’ Den

One of the joys of being involved with Little Dragons is the moment when we spot a former slider, crawler or roller set off on two feet, albeit precariously, down the main aisle, usually in pursuit of a bicycle, car or push-along toy. Walking is one of the skills that we take for granted; speed, direction, pace, dynamics all usually a matter of choice or inclination depending on the circumstance at a particular time.

There may be times when this skill is challenged. For instance, if one strains, sprains or tears a muscle or ligament, or maybe has the bad luck to break lower limb or foot bone, it challenges both the physical body and the emotional strength to overcome the, hopefully, temporary difficulties which may ensue.

As some of you are possibly aware, one of Senior Dragons, has recently undergone spinal surgery (possibly the result of many years’ indulgence in various sports – rugby, football, badminton, running, to name but a few).  As difficulties increased one of the favourite activities of said Dragon and myself had to cease.  We had long been fans of long-distance walking and have spent many happy, if painful at times, hours striding along various routes across our island.

Following the recent surgery, as confidence and strength increased, it became apparent that a ‘walk’ might be on the cards.  We returned to one of our favourite stamping grounds from childhood and teenage years, and tackled a ‘simple’ seven-mile circular walk.  Hmm!

We can now appreciate fully how the toddler launching forth down the aisle in church feels.  No smooth pavement or well-managed track for us!  Initially, a hilly, rugged sort-of pathway complete with running water from the hills above provided us with a realistic idea of what was to follow.  After the climb and a rest to admire the view – particularly Pots and Pans, a monument to the fallen of WW1 – and a discussion as to whether it would be sensible to climb up the half-mile ‘pathway’ right up to the monument – with the very sensible decision that this might be our undoing – we then embarked on a rough, narrow, uneven track.  Next decision – do we climb over the stile into the field containing cows with calves (and big horns) or, instead, struggle along a narrow ditch alongside the field and scramble over a dry-stone wall towards the top of the field, hoping, if the worst came to the worst, that we would be able to run faster than the cows.  We chose the latter and, with one eye on the threatening creatures and one eye on the farmhouse, we used many calories as we hurried as fast as our aging legs would carry us.  The farmer, watching us approach, admitted that his wife wouldn’t go anywhere near the cows, which indicated that our fears were perhaps justified.

So, to cut a, what seemed like, a long story/walk short, we gamely forged our way up hill, down hill, through water, mud, woods, around a reservoir, up a long, long, long, long pebbly pathway which attacked arthritic knees, then, mercifully, down a smooth path and, finally along a disused railway track – we made it.  Oh, the achievement!  Forget the aching legs!  We did it!

green_dragon_s-150x150At times we fail to fully appreciate the wonder of the gifts we are given and the ability to use those gifts.  We are so lucky!  We should give thanks for the gifts we have received and hold in our hearts and prayers those who are not so fortunate as we remember that God’s blessings envelop and cushion us each day.

Val Butterworth