Wednesday Wandering

 "Where does it start? Muscles tense. One leg a pillar, holding the body upright between the earth and sky. The other a pendulum, swinging from behind. Heel touches down. The whole weight of the body rolls forward onto the ball of the foot. The big toe pushes off, and the delicately balanced weight of the body shifts again. The legs reverse position. It starts with a step and then another step and then another that add up like taps on a drum to a rhythm, the rhythm of walking. The most obvious and the most obscure thing in the world, this walking that wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak." - Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

For most of January, I didn't ride my bicycle. First it had a flat tire, then it was raining cats and dogs for a few weeks, and this week, I accidentally left my bike helmet with a friend. Fortunately, Green Guy's commute aligns fairly well with mine, so I've been able to get rides to and from my bus stop in San Jose and supplemented my other in-between trips with additional buses. What I learned, though, is that buses take a long time, especially at certain times of day from UCSC.

So this week, I've been walking whenever possible, such as from my bus station to my house along a lovely tree lined street, or from my office down the hill to buildings near the base of campus. The trip from my office to the base of campus is a 25 minute walk, but it's a guaranteed 25 minutes, whereas waiting for a bus to pick me up and drive me around campus and down to the base could take 25 minutes or more. The buses are also crowded, and standing on a crowded bus is not fun. Unless it's raining (or maybe even when it is raining!), I've (re)learned lately that walking is a much better option.

I've been fortunate to have meetings or events at the base of campus every day this week in the later part of the day, with enough spaciousness in my schedule to walk. The walk down the hill, with the view of the Bay always in sight, has made my days so much brighter this week. My legs are sore but in that rewarding way that makes you want to keep exercising. I've also been trying to stay up an hour later (until 10pm) to see if I can squeeze one more hour of time into my day. The walking combined with an extra hour to clean up the house or prepare for the next day has been remarkable in how I feel throughout the day. I'm less tired in the mornings, and I've felt less anxiety than usual. My mom is probably reading this and saying, "I told you so!" She has always praised the benefits of walking, and she stays up way later than I do despite having an equally early wake-up time!

I hope to keep up this walking routine--as well as continue to reflect on walking with the help of folks like Rebecca Solnit and Henry David Thoreau--which may mean leaving the bike at home more often or taking walks when I get home in the evening. Either way, I love the new-found energy I have this week and hope that you can find time this week to get in a few walks, wherever they may lead you.

Where do you walk when you wander? Where does your mind take you when you walk? I'd love to hear what your experience has been with walking--please leave a comment

Thanks for reading! Happy Wednesday!

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives." - Henry David Thoreau

Comments

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post about the power of walking. I have been a runner my whole life, but as I've grown older I see the joy and beauty of walking. There's something magical about the interplay of being outside, moving your body, and allowing your thoughts to wander. I love the quotation you posted from Thoreau. Inspiring!

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