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June 12, 2007

“While walking, the body and the mind can work together, so that thinking becomes almost a physical, rhythmic act–so much for the Cartesian mind/body divide. Spirituality and sexuality both enter in; the great walkers often move through both urban and rural places in the same way; and even past and present are brought together[…]And each walk moves through space like a thread through fabric, sewing it together into a continuous experience–so unlike the way air travel chops up time and space and even cars and trains do. This continuity is one of the things I think we lost in the industrial age–but we can choose to reclaim it, again and again, and some do…” –Rebecca Solnit, from the introduction to Wanderlust: A History of Walking.

HERE IN LAND-LOCKED VIRGINIA I spent a summer Sunday, circling classifieds and clipping coupons on a downtown stoop in “America’s Most Historic City” (or so the back of the trolley car giving tours says). I take long walks here, but bipedalism has become a more conscious and recreational act, than its functionally transportative quality in my London life. I walk and write, in my head, and I think about the skeletal structure of the human body, our widened hips, and narrowing knees that let us walk this way, each body segment stacked on the one underneath like a child’s dexterity toy. I am trying to keep myself conditioned to thinking that a walk of 20 blocks between my sub-let and my boyfriend’s apartment is nothing…even in such a humid climate. When I am not walking, I am at least sitting outside. Something about the rhythm of exterior space is conducive to my writing, if not to my reading (I am frequently distracted by passing sounds).

…more results of these walking musings soon…

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