Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog 11: On Sauntering

As I was walking around and thinking about the "assignment," I got to thinking about "sauntering" and what it means to saunter as opposed to walking. Sauntering is sort of an aimless wandering, where you engage with nature and don't really have a specific destination in mind. But as I was doing this Monday, I got the feeling that I wasn't really sauntering at all.

I came to the conclusion that I think sauntering implies sort of going "off the beaten path." As I was on a walking trail, my path was actually guided. Can you really call this a saunter? Every time we walk or saunter anywhere, we always have an ultimate destination in mind and in a round about way the steps we take get us there. For me, this destination was the car. So anywhere I went, the steps I was taking were ultimately guiding me back to that place. Therefore, any kind of conformist path we might take immediately precludes sauntering. I did briefly contemplate stepping off the path and making my own way through the woods, but I have an intense allergy to poison ivy and other things so that was really out of the question.

If we really want to saunter, we have to actually get lost in nature... Perhaps go somewhere we've never been, in the middle of nowhere, and just wander around with no paths to guide the way. This is true sauntering, although I'm not sure it's a feasible thing for any of us to really do as it seems dangerous to basically get lost in nature. But as far as I can tell, this is really the true meaning of what it is to "saunter." I don't think I sauntered on Monday, I took a walk. Although it was certainly more engaging than any walk I've taken in a very long time.

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