On Walking in Solitude

In response to an article by Brain Pickings, Walking as Creative Fuel: A Splendid 1913 Celebration of How Solitary Walks Enliven “The Country of the Mind” , here is a thought or two.

How I so wish I could take up walking as a regular activity – yet I’ve never been much of an active walker, such as described here.

But I remember enjoying my long walks inside the university in my college days, as well as in my years of studying and teaching in another university. Unhurried walks when I wasn’t running for time for my classes or at the end of the day – going back home – were indeed a respite for my tired mind and body.

Times when those walks were akin to having a cup of coffee; at times, walking  simply soothed me enough, like a good massage, helping me unwind and relax.

Recalling one particular instance while sauntering inside the campus during a semester break several years back, I wrote:

“Late morning today, I had a most exquisite stroll on campus – the day was cool, the sun was hidden in the clouds, and everything was so still, with nary a soul in sight – ahhh the quiet joy of sem break! So I leisurely walked under the overarching trees that shaded the main avenue of the university communing with Nature – what a bliss!”

What a bliss, indeed! Walking in solitude, like this, connects us with the natural environment, with our inner self as well. If you happen to be a camera buff – just like myself — you can also capture the moment in a photograph for you to share on your social media sites.

Yet –the article describes this type of activity as a “self-defeating impulse to evacuate the moment in order to capture it — in a status update, in an Instagram photo” and goes against what the Scottish writer Kenneth Grahame (March 8, 1859–July 6, 1932) believes walking should be:

“Not a fiftieth part of all your happy imaginings will you ever, later, recapture, note down, reduce to dull inadequate words; but meantime the mind has stretched itself and had its holiday.”

This makes sense to me as far as appreciating walking for its own pleasure, and not doing it for any other purposes – though I know I may not be able to resist photographing an interesting scene along the way.

Solitary leisure walks, I agree, are a good time for us to be immersed in the moment wherever we are. To simply be and let be. As we open our mind, our heart, we lift our spirit to the beauty and quiet surrounding us. Then we can experience a stream of inspiring thoughts.

Some of those solitary walks of mine had stumbled their way to a few of my verses and journal entries.

A walk with and through Nature is a walk with our imagination, with Inspiration, with the Muses. I also see walking in solitude among nature a means to commune with the Divine Spirit, with my Source, with God – the Creator of all things, with whom I can share the power to create.

Thus is walking indeed “a creative fuel,” an impetus that drives us to create – a work of art, a literary piece, a song or a prayer.

Through walking, we can also come up with ideas that promote growth for ourselves and for the betterment of humanity.

“But all these are only the by-products, the casual gains, of walking alone. The high converse, the high adventures, will be in the country of the mind,”

— the article continues to quote.

Such a lovely description!

Sometimes, the most beautiful moment cannot truly be – or does not have to be – plucked or photographed. To honor the sacredness of that moment and hold it in our heart, in our mind’s eye — that is enough.

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