#17 decembrance 2017

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This morning, walking before breakfast, I put one foot in front of the other studying leaf littler and seed pods. Something on the horizon caught my eye and I looked up to see a bald eagle soar above the trees in front of me, then over my head, back down our driveway past the house and finally towards the stream that feeds the pond. The soaring eagle lacked confines and lifted both my gaze and mood. My idiosyncratic path through the morning light was both our well trodden driveway and grass but also a metaphor for looking up and moving beyond merely putting one foot in front of the other.

17 decembrance 2017.jpgThis history of walking is an amateur history, just as walking is an amateur act. To use a walking metaphor, it trespasses through everybody else's field -- through anatomy, anthropology, architecture, gardening, geography, political and cultural history, literature, sexuality, religious studies -- and doesn't stop in any of them on its long route. For if a field of expertise can be imagined as a real field -- a nice rectangular confine carefully tilled and yielding a specific crop -- then the subject of walking resembles walking itself in its lack of confines. And though the history of walking is, as part of all these fields and everyone's experience, virtually infinite, this history of walking I am writing can only be partial, an idiosyncratic path traced through them by one walker, with much doubling back and looking around... The history of walking is everyone's history, and any written version can only hope to indicate some of the more well-trodden paths in the author's vicinity -- which is to say, the paths I trace are not the only paths.

--Wanderlust: A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit

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This page contains a single entry by Catherine White published on December 17, 2017 8:03 PM.

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