May 8, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Walking


"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have enough time."
- Stephen Wright

Is there anything more simple, or joyous, than the act of walking? You don't need expensive or exotic gear for this activity. If you lived on a tropical beach you wouldn't even have to bother with clothes or shoes. Just stand up and off you go.

There is something magical about walking. In this most basic of activities, simply striding forth, we can discover brave new worlds. Whether in our very own neighborhood, or farther afield, walking leads us into experience - serendipitous things are bound to happen.

Until recently, people had to walk everywhere (uphill both ways). But even as we lay down our black ribbons of highway, and build more complicated and expensive cars, walking retains its mystical qualities. We instinctively know that walking rules. When that uber-car breaks down, and you raise the hood and fail to find the on/off switch, you can always walk home.

I have a walking loop in my neighbourhood that is about 3km in length. It takes me past homes and businesses, under towering trees, through a cemetery, and along a beach. I walk my circuit a few times a week, and the joy of just walking out the door and propelling myself along is exhilarating. Nature fills my senses and I retreat into the moment. It is a massage for my legs, my body, and my mind.

Walking is my most cherished simple pleasure. What is yours?

"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

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