Saturday, June 6, 2009

Walking It Out

When I emerged from my depression earlier this spring I suddenly became interested in doing things again, making lists and setting goals. So far I have followed through on many things, I have made a skirt, a painting, just last night I cut out a linen dress I am going to make, hopefully later this week.

My biggest goal for the summer is to walk the 20 miles from my home in Everson to Bellingham. I have been reading this book called "The Lost Art of Walking" since the winter and it has captured my imagination. Throughout history people have walked for all kinds of reasons, from survival to spiritual discovery and often the two are closely related. People walked for sport and reward, for art and for salvation. I walk primarily to keep my body in shape, as a cure for the enormous amount of sitting I do in front of the computer. In addition to the positive effect the walking has on my keeping my ass from getting totally out of control it has an amazing effect on my soul. For me walking is a form of meditation a way to clear my head, release a few endorphins, connect with nature, watch the changing of the seasons on my stretch of road. In many ways the simple act of walking keeps me anchored to the earth, an active reminder that I am here, grounded.

Sometime around the summer solstice I will rise early and begin the trek to Bellingham. I am not sure of the route I will take, I am interested in the old railroad grade as it appears to be the most direct route to town but I am not sure how clear the right of way is. In the next few weeks I will be increasing my daily walks, building up the length and distance of my daily excursions. I walked about 8 miles a few weeks back and it took around 2 hours, hopefully I can cover the 20 mile distance in about 5-6 hours. My goal is not speed, just distance.

I heard a story once that our homo sapien bodies are designed to walk long distances, 20 miles or so per day. We were once hunter-gatherers covering great distances to find food to sustain ourselves. Obviously these days the distances we have to travel for survival have become truncated and softened. The distance from my couch to my fridge for example is not a rigorous journey and with not much effort I can get in the car and drive to the store for more sustenance if need be. It was this germ of information that first inspired me to take this journey and Jeffrey Nicholson's book sort of sealed the deal.

Some people walk to cure cancer, some have walked because god condemned them to travel the earth for all eternity. I am walking because I can and in a way I am celebrating the fact that I want to, I have no expectation of the journey I am just glad to be on it.

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