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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why walking?

Having been nearly a month OOM*, I'm very pleased to be back, especially on a mild Tuesday when only a couple of cars during the course of an hour's walk this morning disturbed the germination of skunk cabbage and ideas. Such a walk on the roads and lanes of Owls Head is my emblem of return, and here are the reasons why.

1. Must bow to the currents gods and say that walking is a good form of exercise, not the best, but suitable for someone who no longer cares to impress.
2. Will distinguish walking from hiking, which is more of a worship (of body and vista) than a communion, the way California coast and hills (they stun) contrast with Maine coasts and hills (they soothe).
3. Finds the familiar place, does the same route over and over, yet allows time and space to expect the unusual (eagle, fallen tree, first skunk cabbage of spring, progress on that McMansion down Lucia Beach). Can easily stop and stare or grouse.
4. Provides just enough tonic for restlessness. Not necessary to beat the restlessness out with tennis or running, just applies a nice salve.
5. Springs me outside walls, face bathed in breeze, bugs, sleet, heat, sunshine, fog - anything but the glow of a screen and the succor of a sofa.
6. Experiences nature with just a little difficulty, a little sweat, and a little soreness in calf and arch after an hour. Pretends to be Great North Woodsman. Could if I wanted to.
7. Allows time to rehearse conversations, in the several senses of the word rehearse: repeats past talks but invents new responses to find a better light or less embarrassment; invents and proposes imaginary dialogue with hero novelists; practices opening lines for future tasks; tries to remember Leonard Cohen lyrics.
8. Does not listen to music - far too irruptive.
9. Solves problems of the world, provides last lines of essays, practices blog posts.
10. Proves that all we really want out of life is to know one place, deeply, lovingly, slowly, sacredly.

*Out Of Maine, Odds-On Melancholy

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