Thursday, January 24, 2013

Environment Aesthetics #3 — Walking

I grew up in the 6th largest town in America. We should have been a city, but the council resisted. In southern Arizona, one does not often have the opportunity to walk around in nature because of the heat. It is considered too dangerous the majority of the days of the year. But, I was lucky to have a family who enjoyed camping up north. Every summer, we would travel up to Sedona, Big Lake or the White Mountains. Those trips would provide the perfect location for some contemplative nature walking.

There is a certain peace that comes over you as you walk through the woods or by a creek. It is something you miss when being confined to the city. A sense of being connected to something bigger, almost infinite. You know those trees have been around for centuries before you were even a thought. And odds are, they will remain around long after you are gone. There is something comforting in that. Nature is a constant. Nature is spiritual.

I disagree with Thoreau's assessment of the word "saunter". To me, saunter implies aimlessness. As does the word "wander". Aimless and lost. But walking in nature isn't about being lost or found. It is just about being.

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