Walking is an important part of the way I live. It is more than just a way of getting around but a way of seeing and living in the world. Of being. There is something fundamental and deliberate about it, as well the choice for immediacy and engagement.
I live and work in downtown Edmonton and do not own a car but choose walking to get to most places. Living in the downtown core is a choice to be closer to the places and people I spend the most time. Yesterday we walked to and through the wonderful legislative grounds with its open space and character trees, crossed the high level bridge, browsed some shops along Whyte Avenue and retraced our steps and ate at the High Level Diner, our first visit to this iconic restaurant. Afterwards we cooled our feet in the flowing waters of the legislative pools and enjoyed the kids and families and abundance of nature. We had an idea of our day but no specific agenda or timeline and the day was relaxing and perfect.
A line from Casanova’s writing comes to mind: “… to float lightly upon the stream of life, trusting to the wind wherever it led…” And it is not surprising when we take such an approach life happens on its own accord and becomes quite enjoyable.
Walking is a natural and healthy act. As with traveling, it can be an expansion. For me it is about quality of life and living. Besides being fun! it expands one’s horizons as the visual and perspective is always shifting and changing and opening to new things. This opening is not only the physical environment as we traverse and appreciate it, but an internal landscape that cannot help but shift with new experience.
As we walk the world unfolds with every step, every breath. With every step there is something new to observe and appreciate, as well as something to let go of that walking naturally facilities. The unfolding is a relaxation and softening of any rigidity in body and mind. A movement of energy, the energy we are. Walking is a movement into the known and if chosen, the unknown. A movement into possibility and exploration and interaction with ourselves and our environment. A movement into the realization of our interconnection with everything as our energy extends beyond the physical body.
Cars are impersonal and tend to create bubbles of separation between ourselves and world, if we are not careful. It is nice to see more cycling but the bike is still mainly a method of transportation and not a vehicle for exploration that walking affords in many ways.
Inherent within the movement of walking is the choice to stop. To pause and be still.