Walking by H.D. Thoreau

The trite phrase of “You can’t judge a book by its cover”— originally, the closing word was binding not cover and it was attributed to a 1944 edition of the African journal American speech—which, this svelte, modestly jacketed edition of Walking, it too, oratory in genesis, was a compilation of a mutating speech, whose maiden name was The Wild. This exposition was publicly intimated ten times, so goes the scuttlebutt; then, committed to publication in 1862 after his, Henry, passing in the prime of life, age 44 from a bacterium, not a Civil War bullet; the pernicious Mycobacterium tuberculosis, one of the leading infectious agents causing mortality in the 19th and 20th century. The mutable body of the speech inchoately metamorphosing into the sacrosanct tabernacle of the book, which wonders around dissecting and analyzing the transitional nexus from the seeding origin of raw nature of accentuating relationships of  photosynthesis, symbiosis, commensalism, and predator prey dependency to the cumbersome intricacies of the expectations of society, which in it’s effort to rein-in, control, and harness the bustling, blundering energy takes on the perception of a skirmish. In spite of my prolix preamble, the book is about walking and philosophizing ad nauseam–eventually– ending up in the bucolic neighborhood of the woods, where the denizens slither, hop, and take wing.

Henry elevated the practice of a walk as a gift from God; you have to be mentally prepared, grace imbued and be astutely sensitize to acknowledge all the subtle complexities of the circumambience as one foot is laid, one after another: …Henry intimates,“It comes only by the grace of God. It requires a direct dispensation from Heaven to become a walker. You must be born into the family of the Walkers.” … People walk for different reasons, and so, they define their peripatetic efforts in accordance to their acquired, tailored benefits–and, the pace–is distinctly denoted as brisk or sauntering; the former, a geometrical elucidated line-like; the shortest distance from the destignations A to B, head down and serious; the latter, affords the traveler opportunities to be tangentially distracted by nature’s sirens.—…Henry demurs about the intention to walk, “But the walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours —as the Swinging of dumb-bells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”…”Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking. When a traveler asked Wordsworth’s servant to show him her master’s study, she answered, Here is  his library, but his study is out of doors.”… 

I, personally, reeking of retirement bliss, adressed the walking experience  with reference to gradients: ascending, descending and planar. There is a population of walkers, one in particular, The Boss Lady, who enjoys the clamber upward and over rocks, where conifers are the dominant botonical umbrella–and– rambles among the rubble of stones with the same grace as the gravity defying mountain goat; agile, nimble, fleeting heel-toe (in the ungulates case, hoofs) springing from inertia–sure footed elan. Me, on the other “foot”, I subscribe to descending/planar trekking, using gravity as an assistant friend in search for a body of water, where I plant signature foot prints along the shore line inadvertently startling wading birds, camouflage frogs and sun bathing turtles; a landscape cauldron that has the life sustaining liquid, emotinally awashing with dousing placidity—did I mention, I was retired? Since the inception of my twilight years, aka retirement by vetran conscripts, my quotidian schedule has a perfunctory lakes sauntering as priority, Henry, too, was a subscriber to routine, ” My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for many years I have walked almost every day, and sometines for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them.”  which was the impetus that engendered my interest in Henry’s book, Walking. Unlike Henry though, my path does not have a magnetic compass  west, “My needle is slow to settle,—varies a few degrees and does not always point due Southwest, it is true, and it has good authority for this variation, but it always settles between west and south-southwest. The future lies that way to me, and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side.” ……………………”So we saunter toward the Holy Land—me, not so much—till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he had done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great  awakening light, as warm and serene and goden as on a bankside in autumn.” … I’m just bumbling along in my saunter; where, the water-line interfaces with mud visiting the denizens of this very special ecological niche. Enjoy your walk