Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Art of Walking

Winter Silence, Leonid Afremov

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks—who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering. —Thoreau

It struck me when reading Thoreau recently that most of the naturalists and great nature poets were also great walkers, that walking was, in fact, part of their creative path, pivotal to their writing. Thoreau, Frost, Roethke, Emerson, Coleridge, Wordsworth—all prodigious walkers. Whether searching for meaning in life, exploring the relationship between man and nature, or as a compositional device, walking had a central role in their lives. I suppose that really doesn’t surprise me. To walk in a place over time is to know it, and yourself, intimately.

I’m a solitary walker; I like to walk alone, and there are some days when any excuse will do for a good walk. We all know that walking is good for us. It’s been said that for every mile we walk, we extend our life by 21 minutes. Walking grounds me. It is physically and mentally refreshing. I explore my feelings, clear my head, review my priorities, order my day, and settle my thoughts. Just think—all these benefits can be ours, free, when we walk. I know people who pay good money for that kind of therapy!

4 comments:

Ethan said...

I'm reading Thoreau and Emerson right now in Am. Lit. Just thought I'd pop in and say how your blog was relevant to me. Ha!

Peggy Johnstone said...

Ah, don't you just love synchronicity? By the way, Ethan, I need to know what you're reading! Terry Brooks? Let me know!

Ethan said...

Actually nothing at the moment, I'm kind of stuck in a rut reading wise. The next author im looking into is goin to be Terry Goodkind though.

Sydney said...

You SO hit the nail on the head. I get more out of walking than I ever have in trying to meditate over the years. Beautifully written post, by the way. I really love coming here to see what you've done each day.