February 21, 2010

Walking - It's More Than You Think: The Art of Walking

Living simply means discovering things you put aside in your consumer/materialism/rat-race life, and one of those great, great discoveries for me was walking. 

Not just walking down the street, though I live in a very pretty, tree-filled neighborhood.  Walking in nature, sometimes with friends and sometimes not, and always with dogs.  There's something wonderous and magical about it - the quiet, the beauty, the peacefulness.  It's medicinal, it's refreshing, it's wonderous.

Today is Sunday.  Maybe you have to drive to find Nature.  So do it.  Take some bottled water and some fruit, maybe a bag of nuts.  Your dogs, your kids, yourself.  Maybe your journal, maybe your camera.  Just GO. 

Learn what walking in Nature will give you.

I'm not the only one who's discovered this.  Henry David Thoreau used to go around giving lectures on the benefits of taking long walks, and after awhile, he took those lectures and published an essay entitled (simply) "Walking."  It's in the public domain now, and you can read it in its entirety online

(For more on walking, check out the American Volkssport Association as well as the Top Ten Walks (Walking Trails) in the USA for 2009.  )

Now, back to Walking.  Here's how Mr. Thoreau starts off:

I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil--to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that.
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