Saturday, March 10, 2007

On walking

I like to walk, and have lately taken up walking again. For a few months I haven't been walking, and missed it. In those months, my left knee has become stiff and swollen, and I reckon that walking is the best treatment for it.

When I walk and saunter, I feel better, I get better ideas, and I see new things -- and old things with new eyes. At dawn this morning I walked around the town in which I now live, Bellingen. It's a small town and I saw it with different eyes at dawn. At dawn, the buildings look different, without the humans buzzing around.

I saw the rust on the roof of the police station and the courthouse. I saw the fruit bats hanging in the trees on Bat Island. I saw a sticker of a goat that someone, probably a child, had stuck on a fence post. I saw the ducks on the river in a way that I don't see them in the middle of the day when the hubbub of my consciousness is a barrier between me and them. People I passed said "g'day", more so than they do at other times of day. These other walkers were all enjoying the dawn, and the Walk.

Henry David Thoreau, as always, put it better than I can in his wondrous essay called, simply, 'Walking':

"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 ..."


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