Have you read much Thoreau? I haven’t read much but I did read Walden. Years ago. And some selected essays. I think it’s definitely time to re-read Walden soon, but when I think of Thoreau, I always think of a relatively obscure lecture delivered at the Concord Lyceum, in 1851: “Walking.” This lecture was later published in essay form in The Atlantic in 1862 and that has been anthologized since then.

Maybe more than any other writer, Thoreau married “wild” and “human.” He was concerned with the philosophic “natural state.” He valued reflective meandering, stripped of facades, of the artificial, that fosters creativity. “Walking” addresses all of that.

This week I’ve been quite peripatetic. Not so much “based” in varying places, but moving! Going on short adventures! 

Per·i·pa·tet·ic: (perēpəˈtedik)

adjective: peripatetic;

traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.

My doctor told me some months ago to get my ass in gear now (not her words) because “once you’re forty, your body won’t do what you want it to do” (her words). For the record, I turned 31 this month. I’ve been walking. About half an hour to an hour a day. It feels good. My body registers the good feeling, but my brain does too.

On a recent outing, I missed my turn-around spot and just kept walking because my brain was running ahead. That can happen when you’re out in the sun and have a stretch of open road in a somewhat rural spread of landscape! I thought of Thoreau and “Walking.” And it reminded me that sometimes the only way to “activate” a reading in your mind is to do! be! the thing you’re reading about! So with Thoreau’s lovely essay.

How about you? What gets you moving, literally or creatively?


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