Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Most of the time my walking is merely practical,
the unconsidered locomotive means between two sites
or lately part of my heart surgery rehab.

I make walking an investigation, a ritual, a meditation,
a special subset of walking,
physiologically like and philosophically unlike
simply getting from point A to point B.

For me,
walking is about how I invest a universal act
with a particular meaning.

Like eating or breathing,
my walking can be invested with wildly different meanings,
from the erotic to the spiritual,
from the revolutionary to the artistic.

Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing
by a production-oriented culture,
and doing nothing is hard to do.
It’s best done by disguising it as doing something,
and the something closest to doing nothing
is walking.

My walking  is an intentional act
closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body,
to breathing and the beating of my heart.
It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling,
being and doing.

It is a bodily labor
that produces nothing but
thoughts, experiences, arrivals.

Walking, for me,
is a state in which my mind, my body, and the world
are aligned,
as though they were three characters in conversation together,
three notes suddenly making a chord.

My walking allows me to be in my body
and in the world
without being made busy by them.

It leaves me free to think
without being wholly lost in my thoughts.

The rhythm of my walking
generates a kind of rhythm of thinking,
and the passage through a landscape
echoes or stimulates the passage
through a series of thoughts.

This creates an odd consonance
between my internal and my external passage,
one that suggests that my mind is also a landscape of sorts
and that walking is one way to traverse it.

A new thought
often seems like a feature of the landscape
that was there all along,
as though thinking were traveling
rather than making.

And so one aspect of walking is thinking made concrete,
the motion of my mind
traced by my steps.

Perhaps walking should be called movement,
not travel,
for I can walk in circles
or travel around the world immobilized in a seat,
and a certain kind of wanderlust
can only be assuaged by the acts of my body itself in motion,
not the motion of the car, boat, or plane.

It is the movement
as well as the sights going by
that seems to make things happen in my mind,
and this is what makes walking ambiguous
and endlessly fertile:
it is both means and end,
travel and destination.

I like walking because it is slow, 
and I suspect that my mind, like my feet, 
works at about three miles an hour.

 If this is so, 
then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought,
 or thoughtfulness.

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