“Habituating” myself, Jefferson-style

I know it’s dreadfully tacky to begin articles, essays and thoughts in general with quotes, but indulge me. Being in the country makes me think about other people for whom country living is or was important. And so, sometimes, I think of Thomas Jefferson who said: “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” I have found, and it’s no exaggeration, that walking has come close to curing me of many dark ailments. Depression. Difficulty in general. Lapses in creativity or mental acuity. And, pain. Walking got me through a divorce. And it saved me when culture shock was doing me in. Walking is, in a word, miraculous. It makes everything move, body and brain, and like the aforementioned vacation effectively empties the mind of trash, making room for good stuff or at least interesting questions to ponder. So let’s go. And let’s see what bubbles up. One step into it, the questions start:

Why was my last blog so profoundly boring?
Why do I feel the need to write?
Wouldn’t it be better to serve people in a more “real” way?
Is one person’s life really any better than someone else’s?
How quickly can a sky change?
Am I feeling different yet?
When was this road last paved?

If someone tried to assault me out here, where would I hide?
How many hours or days does it take to plow these fields?
Does the man driving the tractor get bored?
Does he dream of living in a city?
Does he practice philosophy or zen meditation up and down the rows?
Deer, where are you today? Are you hiding in the copse?
What did this all look like before man was here?

How long has this land been cultivated?
Why was a bench placed by the roadside just here?
Who thought, like me, that this was a view worth looking at?
How many young couples have kissed here?
How many people have contemplated existence here?
What will I see at the top of the hill?
Even though I know the answer, why is it always a beautiful mystery?

Why was a lone tree left standing?
Does a lone tree have feelings of independence and uniqueness?
Does it know how beautiful it is?
Is it possible to become great at something now?
What does it mean to age?
What is getting older really about?
What will it feel like to die?

Why does the question not scare me right now
even though it usually does?
Why does this scenery make me tingle?
What is it about being alone?
Why is it so good to disappear like this?
Is anonymity a cure?
Would fame be a good thing or a bad thing?

Where am I going?
Is it time to turn back?
What’s lying over there?
Where does wind come from?
Is anything more beautiful than the underside
of a wind-whipped branches?
What is light?
How thrilling is gravity?
How many steps does one take?
Is there really no end?
No end? No end.

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8 Responses to “Habituating” myself, Jefferson-style

  1. Janette Gross says:

    Wonderful, thanks!

  2. anntmoore says:

    I hate having to realize that I’ve probably had my last trip to visit you there. But what a memory! Thanks for the beautiful photographs. Love, Mom

  3. i think a person’s purpose is to be happy. contributing happiness is quite an accomplishment to the race, the species, to others. so, sit and glow. then, sharing becomes an unintentional activity that, in the end, may be the best, goodestest item on the résumé. an item that could be nicely contagious. carry on.

  4. Debra Kolkka says:

    I love to walk in new places…and old ones. Our winter weather here in Brisbane has been perfect walking weather and I have been enjoying walking all over my home town. Amazing stuff goes through your mind….as you say.

  5. diane says:

    Walking is my absolute favorite thing to do,THANK YOU

  6. Pingback: Closed/Week in review | The Daily Cure

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