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Should we be encouraged to walk through the pain barrier?

In the latest in his series of reflections, Will Gore considers whether we choose our own path

Sunday 26 January 2020 00:07
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I have a perennial, gnawing anxiety that the days of genuinely challenging mountain walks are behind me
I have a perennial, gnawing anxiety that the days of genuinely challenging mountain walks are behind me

Most of us take an awful lot for granted: food, clean water, warmth, reasonable health – all the basics that enable a fairly comfortable life. Not everyone is so fortunate of course. And despite Donald Trump’s recent dismissal of “doom prophecies” over climate change, it’s hard to feel overly confident that people will not experience hardship in increasing numbers in the coming years.

The underlying assumption of this column is about an ability to walk. Over the past 18 months or so, in weekly reflections about place and pathway, I have more or less regarded walking as a given. Perhaps that has been a misstep.

Recently I met up with a friend who I’d not seen for some time and who for many months has been living with complex regional pain syndrome. It is a condition which can be hugely debilitating, causing chronic pain for an indefinite period. It can be the result of a specific injury, but can also arise without a causal trauma. It’s the kind of disorder that can be hard to explain to a world used to more straightforward illnesses.

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