Wednesday, 23 October 2013

on walking

Is my  morning walk, the one path I walk day after day, morning after morning, my work?

It seems that this walk is the only time of day when my mind is really awake, when I am really aware and open to my thoughts and the world around me.  Practically speaking, as a mother of four who home educates, it is the only time of day when I can hear my own thoughts! And it is the only time of day when I get a chance to write poetry. Is writing, thinking, walking my work? Is work work even if it is one hour?

Makes me wonder what work really is.

In DB Johnson's children's picture book, Henry Works, he celebrates Henry David Thoreau's daily walk to work.  In the story, Thoreau, portrayed as a bear, seems to walk all day. Giving the postman a comfrey leaf for his foot, tending a strawberry patch, warning a neighbor of a storm, leaving a sprig of pine for an old woman--this is Henry's walk to work. At the end of his walk, he sits to write. What we traditionally think of as work--taking up most of your day--he sees as only the walk to work. I begin to wonder how long Thoreau spent each day writing? Was it only an hour? I doubt it. Was it two, three, maybe? I guess it doesn't really matter. The point is how you begin your day forms your thoughts and shapes your beginning.

I suppose my morning walk is my walk to work. When I come home, I change, I feed my children, and we begin our day exploring and learning. This is my work and I like it.  I appreciate my time with my children, but there is something about my morning walk that I am still trying to understand because my one hour walk seems like a very long time. I have walked miles in my mind even though my feet have walked only three. I have watched the sun rise and moon set. I' ve written poems. I've heard the birds sing. And because of the great mental distance I've traveled, I know there is still so much work I want to do that it seems like all I do is walk.

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