Perhaps the truth depends upon a walk around the lake.
Profile – Grandma Gatewood
Sixty years ago, Emma Gatewood, 67-year-old grandmother of 23, was the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail (in 1955 and 1957) from its origin in Georgia to its challenging end in the mountains of Maine. She walked those 2000+ miles carrying very little and wearing sneakers. See Ben Montgomery’s 2014 Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.
Profile – Peter Kavanagh
In his memoir, Canadian journalist Peter Kavanagh (age 62) recounts the story of learning to walk three times – after infancy polio, after reconstructive surgery, after a stroke more recently. He brings an appreciative, detailed perspective to walking born out of overcoming its difficulties. As Kavanagh says, “Walking is the key to who I am.”
Older writers can identify lonely individuals to take along for a “walk & talk”, getting them to tell their stories while walking. These could be tape recorded at the time, or written down after the walk.
Here are some walking-related prompts to stimulate individual or group writing.
1. Walking along the path, I …
2. Memorable walks I have taken – List 3-7 walks and then elaborate on one of them.
3. The walk I would take with my grandchild …
A Philosophy of Walking
Frederic Gros, translation by J. Howe ; London: Verso, 2014.
This best-selling volume in France has recently been translated into English. Frederic Gros touts the many advantages of walking for the spirit, the body, and especially the creative mind. Walking gets us outside, away from our daily routine, into wilderness or urban landscapes, and slows down our minds.Gros delves into the memoirs of many writers to sort out these benefits.
[In old age] when there is really nothing left to do or believe, except to remember, walking helps retrieve the absolute simplicity of presence, beyond all hope, before any expectations.
~ J. J. Rousseau
Think while walking, walk while thinking, and let writing be but the light pause, as the body on a walk rests in contemplation of wide open spaces.
~ F. Neitzsche
During long, easy walks, on well-traced routes, when all you have to do is follow an interminable set of hairpins, you hatch a thousand plans, invent a thousand tales. … As you follow the wide, single, clearly marked route, a thousand bifurcations swarm in your mind. The heart takes one and renounces another, then chooses a third. It wanders away, comes back.
~ J. J. Rousseau
When you are walking in the springtime, or at dawn, you are watchful, alert, mind stretched towards the rising day, and nothing matters but that slow affirmation.
~ H. D. Thoreau
Click here for the full book review: Ryan15-Gros14Walking