Saturday, January 19, 2013

Walking Not Quite Alone With One's Thoughts

A great many of the world's greatest thinkers and writers have penned their thoughts about walking. Many are pro-walking, some are not. Some of their observations are profound, some are funny. As I continue to blog, I will cite some of the most memorable sayings about walking.

One preliminary thought is how many writers through the ages have advised solitary walking if drawing inspiration is your objective. For instance, I found that advice in an essay on the writing of essays published more than a century ago:

""Take long walks, after business, with no other companion than your subject. Do this for the sake of the arrangement of it as well as the thought. Never neglect to take pencil and paper with you to jot down anything that may strike you." (G.H. Northcroft, "How to Write an Essay," Great Thoughts From Master Minds, vol. III, 1907.)  (

Other writers have recommended solitary walking.  As far as chit-chatting with a friend on a walk, I agree, go solo if you want to take in the natural surroundings and seek inspiration. However, I do prefer the companionship of my dog, because the joy is multiplied through sharing. She typically senses goings-on in our environs faster than I do, and so alerts me to them.

Today after walking my senior Sadie, I took our family's 2-year-old yellow lab, Dasher, to the dog park (known locally as the Barc Parc). It brightened my day to see such unbridled joy as he ran circles around all other breeds and then played ball with me. This outing wasn't exactly walk No. 2 of the day; however,  it was certainly brisk exercise.

The few times Sadie hasn't felt like walking (more often having to do with her fear of firecrackers than with any illness), I have felt totally disconnected and disoriented out on the sidewalks or trails. From a strictly practical standpoint of jotting down ideas for articles, yes perhaps a walk alone with notepad in hand (instead of a leash) would be the way to go. But for pursuit of fitness as well as mental refreshment as we age,  my suggestion is to head out the door with a gleeful man's best friend in the lead.

© Robert G. Holland 2013

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