A breeze brushes my face as I walk through our neighborhood. Homes in the early morning sit politely on manicured lawns, some with pulsing arcs of water irrigating the grass. Here and there, crepe myrtle trees tout torches of fuchsia, lavender, or cream. I spot a fire hydrant, newly painted yellow. Bicyclers, wanting to beat the heat, whiz past me, as I walk on the curvy sidewalk. The concrete is not kind to my knees, one with an elastic support.
I much prefer the preserve.
There I tread a grassy path, sometimes dodging the arc from a raspberry bush. I hear a rustle in the palmettos, possibly a wild duck. Two cardinals rehearse a morning duet. Here and there, cypress tree roots, popping through the ground like buckled spines, dot my walk. I walk around them so I don’t stumble. Brambles snag my ankle. Then, ducking through the pine-needled blanket beyond the path, I find a meadow, bordered with more pines and live oaks. To my left is an evergreen fighting blight. I notice some rust-colored branches, low-down on its tall stature; I wince, hoping the blight is not fatal. Strolling quietly on, two bunnies sense my presence, take a long look, and then scurry back to safety.
The nature walk in the preserve takes me back to Grandma’s woods, long ago, in another place and time, where nature offered its particular brand of balm. Like a book, my walk becomes ”portable magic.”
(All text below and some photos from source above, Mark Sisson in “Daily Apple.”)
Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, empiricist, and pupil to Plato, conducted his lectures while walking the grounds of his school in Athens. His followers (who quite literally followed him as he walked) were even known as the peripatetics – Greek for meandering or walking about.
The poet with the most fitting surname ever, William Wordsworth walked nearly 175 thousand miles throughout his life while maintaining a prolific writing career. He managed these two seemingly opposing habits for two reasons. First, being shorter (but not necessarily easier) than novels, poems take less actual writing time to produce. Second, Wordsworth’s walking was writing, in a way. As he saw it, the act of walking was “indivisible” from the act of writing poetry. Both were rhythmic, both employed meter. He needed to walk in order to write.
Famous composer Ludwig Van Beethoven typically worked from sun-up through mid afternoon, taking several breaks to “[run] out into the open” and work while walking. One biographer described these short walks as a bee swarming out to collect honey. And then, after a large midday meal, Beethoven would take a longer, more vigorous “promenade” lasting the rest of the afternoon. These walks happened regardless of the weather, for they were important for his creativity. He would carry a pen and sheets of music paper in case inspiration struck – which it often did.
John Muir was a naturalist who helped preserve Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, and other wild areas from development and private interests. He wasn’t just “a” naturalist. He was the guy who climbed peaks to whoop and howl at vistas, chased waterfalls. . . .
Julia Cameron, Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance
“Walking is a problem-solving tool. A footfall at a time, problems are solved by walking. St. Augustine referred to solving problems by walk as ‘Solvitur ambulando.'”
“Walking starts the writing engine humming.”
Without shame or scolding, walking puts a gentle end of self-involvement. Almost without noticing it, we become engaged with a world larger than ourselves and our concerns. A bluejay hops to a stone wall. A squirrel scampers along a tree branch, Our consciousness follows, entertained.
“Walking has a way of drawing pain to scale.” “Walking has made [my] dreams feel” more real.
Other Ways to Walk . . .
With a dog, brother Mark with Fritzie IV, circa 2015
Crooked, like grandson
Pilates moves, walking at an angle via ZOOM
Confucius says: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
And then, advice from a greeting card:
How do you walk–and when?
Other notable walkers?
Your most fulfilling walking experience . . .