Thoreau on "Walking"

So I discovered that Thoreau wrote a book on walking - yes, walking. I couldn't believe it as I have come to realize that I think sometimes the best thing I do to contribute to this world and becoming a better human comes from me walking in the woods.

He writes, "I have met but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of walking, that is...who had a genius, so to speak for SAUNTERING."

He then goes on to explain that the word saunter derived from the middle ages - people who were wandering on their way to the Holy Land (Sainte Terre) and were thus nick-named "sainte-terrer" or Holy-Lander.

I, indeed, do find walking in the woods a holy activity - Thoreau says that the secret of successful sauntering could also come from the interpretation of "sans terre" meaning "without land" - as in "having no particular home, but [being] equally at home everywhere."

"No wealth can buy the requisite leisure, freedom, and independence which are the capital in this profession [of walking]. It comes only by the grace of God. It requires a direct dispensation from heaven to become a walker."

So - as I head out into the woods today, I will remember how wonderfully holy it is - and reap the capital rewards (not to be confused with the credit card) of this profession. Thanks Henry David - I like your style!

Paula GamblewalkingComment