Walking

It is so nice to be able to do some walking again. Last month, I tore a muscle in my calf while running and have had to let it heal. It’s the first time I’ve been on crutches. I’m very thankful that my injury was something that didn’t require surgery and am glad to be on the mend.

Walking on my lunch break. Walking on my lunch break.

Earlier this week, I took the opportunity to go for a walk during my lunch break. There was a brief respite from the November chill and drizzly weather and it felt really good to put some miles under my feet. Going for walks like this is one of my favorite things to do, especially when I’m able to enjoy the walk for what it is and not be too caught up with my thoughts.

One of my favorite authors, Thích Nhất Hạnh, frequently writes about walking as form of meditation. Another, Henry David Thoreau, extolled walking in a seminal lecture of his, Walking. And still another, Ray Bradbury, wrote a dystopian short story on the subject, The Pedestrian.

It is strange to me that walking for the sake of walking seems to be a rare choice of leisure these days. There are plenty of walk-ers, but I’d hazard a guess that many of those whose paths I cross on the trail are preoccupied with concerns further than the rhythm of their feet hitting the ground. Sometimes, I’ll pass someone and we’ll exchange smiles — a sign, I’m sure, that we’re both enjoying the moment for what it is. Moments like these make my heart sing.

One of my favorite words is “frisson,” a word that describes that feeling when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up during transcendental moments. This often happens to me during especially moving musical performances, such as Tash Sultana’s set at Shaky Knees Music Festival earlier this year. Sometimes, if the moment is just right, I experience frisson during my walks. Maybe the wind is blowing through a field of grass just so or the sunlight filters through the trees in a beautiful way.

It is in these moments that I feel most alive. I am thankful that I’ve two feet that can take me walking and the freedom, the liberation, of the journey that walking makes possible.