How walking changes us … A bevy of books

We have been walking for years, more in the time of Corona, like most. This from the book " Perfect Motion" by Jono Lineen ... I rise. I rise and take my place between the earth and sky. Standing tall on two legs, chest high and chin up, I breathe and let the world in. I am a pillar a receptacle and a witness to the world. If nothing else the time of Corona has awakened in many of us the pure and simple joy of walking.

Here are three books that talk about the joys and importance of walking one by an Australian Jono Lineen PERFECT MOTION, two American ... IN PRAISE OF WALKING A New Scientific Exploration By Shane O’Mara; IN PRAISE OF PATHS Walking Through Time and Nature

By Torbjorn Ekelund, NYT

“My God,” Bruce Chatwin once averred, “is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god.”

We know that walking is good for us, that “if undertaken in regular doses,” as Shane O’Mara writes in “In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration,” “it provides the small, cumulative and significant positive changes for lung, heart and especially brain health.” What interests me, however, is less physiological, more elusive: walking as a way of life.

I am a city walker, which is to say I walk to root myself. I define my neighborhood by walking, both its boundaries and my place within them, my connection to community. Even in the middle of a lockdown, I am out most mornings, to get exercise, yes, but also to remind myself of where I am. This is the hard part — to pay attention, to remain in the present, to look outward as well as inward, now from behind the forbidding filter of my face mask, while recognizing, as Torbjorn Ekelund reflects in “In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature,” that “the path is order in chaos.”



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Comments 3

  1. There are so many advantages to getting into a habit of either short or long walks. Set a fair pace and you can keep in a cardio zone for the bulk of a very long walk. Great for your heart, for the lungs, and lots of calories burned for weight loss or stabilisation.

    Another great advantage is you get to know your urban environments so much better : up and down streets and parkways that you would never drive up or explore otherwise …… so many new sights and variations of architecture, beautiful gardens, and the way people live so differently as you walk through multiple suburbs.

    And finally, a long walk allows you to settle into a rhythm that is almost trance like yet allowing calm thinking time.

  2. Another book, absolutely beautiful, is ‘The Old Ways’ by Robert MacFarlane. A serious walker, he explores several very ancient routes and pathways in Britain. All are journeys of the earth and the heart.

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