The old mulberry seems to materialize ahead of me. It’s past its prime – only a few living shoots protrude from the gorgeous trunk. The owners keep it because it is one of the originals – two hundred years old or more.

I’ve already walked almost a mile, and I’m just beginning to feel it, that soft space that walking brings me to. By now I have waded through the cobwebs of to do lists and residual worries. I’ve put aside the frantic hamster of my mind, and I’m walking with my eyes turned out instead of in.

Then I see them, these little yellow flowers that are, I think, crocuses. But it’s almost fall, and so we are inverting the year, hiding things in their coziness, tucking back. That seems perfect somehow.

As I continue down the hill, I pass the overseer’s house and loop around the corn cribs. By now, my mind is working on the book. I’m pondering what it was to walk these roads each morning on the way to work. I’m imagining men loading in corn from wagons to stack in the crib for the winter soon ahead. I’m seeing the garden that used to be through this gate.

I pass by the stable on my way back up the way I came, my own cycle wrapping back on itself. My heart beats harder as I climb the hill and look up to see the big house above me. When I crest, the gate to the house stands a gleaming white, so white it almost shimmers. Beautiful, just beautiful, I think.

Then, I’m back by the mulberry tree again, and this time I see them – the cobwebs hung like ornaments on the branches. Ah, there they are – my foggy thoughts – hung as decorations on this old tree.

Many, many writers have found walking to be an important part of their writing practice – Alfred Kazin, Kathleen Norris, Rebecca Solnit. What about you – does writing help your work? How so?