On Saturday 12 November, between 11am – 6pm I walked roughly 19,746 steps (approx 8.5 miles) around Leeds, while holding hands with 20 different people. It was an epic day, full of sharing, support, small gestures, big feelings and surprising encounters.
- A welcoming smile.
- How hot hands get. And cold.
- A child between two parents.
- Walking slower to make the moment last.
- Pleasant surprises.
- Most people are actually very lovely.
- “What would you be doing today if you weren’t doing this?”
- Are most people too busy with their own ‘stuff’ (phones) to notice (we are holding hands)?
- An elderly couple holding hands.
- Banter in the pub.
- Lower backache.
- My rumbling tummy.
- A genuine conversation about fear.
- The horny teenagers touching each other up on a bench in the churchyard.
- A couple in their 30s holding hands.
- The woman pausing in front of the war memorial.
- Man taking pictures of his girlfriend throwing leaves.
- Catching the eye of a gruff looking man.
- Overhearing one of the regulars in the pub explain to his mate what we are doing.
- Who can we hold hands with when this is over?
- We can never really know what people are thinking.
- “I hope everyone in here has been courteous.”
One week on and still I am not quite done processing the experiences of participating in Walking:Holding, but I know they have changed me and reminded me of the power of art. The day after I was full and also empty, and I am still missing my new friends and the physical contact I have recently enjoyed. If anyone would like a hug, just ask.