I love walking. It's so good to get your squiggly monkey mind under control. I have a chronically fatigued body and a speedy mind that races, races, races, and so when I am out walking it feels so doubly good for me. It is an opportunity to get out of your own damn head, to use your distance vision to take in something that's not a computer screen – which, if you’re lucky like me, means many trees, with the autumn sun shining on the topsides of some of them but with most of your walk in shadow, while the hill ahead has the sun still shining full pelt on it.
Chiaroscuro walks are the best ones, especially in autumn.
I didn’t have any truly great Nietzschean-level thoughts today, however. Or if I did, they were of the sort that slithered out through one of the large mesh holes in my brain where the short-term memory is supposed to live.
I thought about economics and how it has us tied up in knots when we don’t need to be.
I pondered the trajectory of the word “queer” over the last 80 years. I read it in Enid Blyton books as a descriptor – “How queer!” said Joe as Fanny span past him on a giant squid.” That sort of thing. And now it's meandered its way into a description of someone who is gay. I wonder how it got there?
I love the history of individual words. Some of them change their meaning over the centuries, just a drip at a time like water on a rock, until they can even end up meaning the exact opposite of what they once did.
I reminisced about the time my cousin Andrea and I gave all of the Archies individual surnames. (They were, in case you're interested, Archie Arsehole, Reggie Root, Veronica Vagina, Bettie Boobs and Jughead Junkhead. I’m not sure how Jughead managed to avoid a surname referencing body parts or actions that crack you up when you’re 10 years old and very rude. I guess we hadn’t heard of jism and jerking off back then).
|Different walk, different day, same benefits|
Just the pace and the rhythm of walking and the being away from the computer and not being able to write brings out a whole stack of things that I would like to write about. I once used to have bouts of writer’s block where I just wouldn’t know what to write about. I never have that problem anymore. These days, I have so many thoughts and ideas that I have to actually remind myself that it's okay for them to slip through my hands. I can't catch them all. I just have to trust that the very best ones will return on another day when there is a pen or a keyboard in the vicinity.
Treating thoughts like water is good for your mental health. Plus it makes you feel rich at the same time.
The walk I took this afternoon was just a small one. I am trying to reacquaint myself with the benefit of small things, seeing it’s so easy to think that anything other than grand gestures and big walks and 3000 words a day is failure.
Walking is a bit like that. Brings you right back down to earth, literally, where you move at your own pace, literally. There is much to notice on a walk that you would never, ever notice in a car, no matter how observant you may be.