Johan Støa walking the tour de force distance Trondheim - Oslo at the record time of 4 days, 21 hours and 3 minutes in 1933. Photograph by Eirik Sundvor (1902 - 1992). Courtesy Wikimedia, Creative Commons 2.0.
Johan Støa walking the tour de force distance Trondheim – Oslo at the record time of 4 days, 21 hours and 3 minutes in 1933. Photograph by Eirik Sundvor (1902 – 1992). Courtesy Wikimedia, Creative Commons 2.0.

“Every walker is a guard on the patrol of protecting the ineffable.” ~ Rebecca Solnit

I walk. A lot. On purpose. Have done for a long time now.

I suspect that it’s in my bones … a legacy I inherit from more than a few of my walking, wandering ancestors.

Of course, driving everywhere is really a pretty recent development, so maybe we’ve all got more walking-in-the-bones than not.

A wise elder friend of mine, John, calls walking one of the modes of ‘human-powered transportation‘ that are often a combination of health-friendly, eco-friendly, and in sync with the more recently coined Slow Movement lifestyle choices.

Indeed, he devoted a lot of his life to human-powered transportation, innovating with velo-mobiles and living other ‘walk the talk’ eco-conscious lifestyle choices.

For me, in addition to the obvious health and eco-friendly benefits of walking, putting foot to ground is also a practice of connecting with the spirits of place, and the facets and qualities of a place.

You learn and come to know where you live when you walk it.

By Pino Daeni (1939 – 2010). See more in The Tree Mag (link below post in Image Credits).
By Pino Daeni (1939 – 2010). See more in The Tree Mag (link below post in Image Credits).

I can’t tell you how often I’ve had some lovely spontaneous interaction that wouldn’t have happened had I not been on foot or, alternatively, on public transit (the second eco-friendly transport option for many).

And given that I spend a lot of time with writing, research, online and other tech-mediated work — and I’m grateful for them all! — heading out for a good walkabout, meander, human-powered wander or errand-run (or errand-walk, as it were!) helps to keep me feeling more balanced and grounded.

Plus there are more than a few times, like during those Underworld cycles, where I’ve walked to help me get through passages that seemed just that challenging. I literally walked my way out of the Underworld!

These are a lot of benefits for one practice or ‘transportation mode’, but there are many more.

And there are many impressive people in the Intrepid Walkers club – Henry David Thoreau, Emily Bronte, Dorothy Day, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Charles Dickens, Gandhi … to name but a few of the poets, writers, mystics, movers, shakers, changers, inspirers who walked.

Rue de la Gauchetière, pedestrian section, Montreal. By Gene Arboit October 2005 Creative Commons SSA 3.0 via Wikimedia.
Rue de la Gauchetière, pedestrian section, Montreal. By Gene Arboit October 2005 Creative Commons SSA 3.0 via Wikimedia.

This DailyGood article, Reclaiming the Lost Art of Walking, includes some famed walkers, and some of the brain-and-body-and-spirit happy reasons to put foot to ground and head out for a good walkabout … or meander … or wander … or saunter, as Thoreau advocated.

I shared a similar DailyGood article via this Museworthy quote from Rebecca Solnit, on Slowness as an Act of Resistance.

Another blogger and writer who has shared several musings on the Art of Walking is Nimue Brown in her Druid Life blog. Check those musings out here.

Big Love and Happy Pedding,

Jamie

Image Credits: Pino Daeni (1939-2010) painted an exquisite collection of paintings of woman, alone and with children, walking, at the beach, at home. See some of those at The Tree Mag.