Walking and writing have always been entwined in a kind of a harmonic dependency. The self-reliance and individualistic rhythms of one serving as inspiration for the other.
The literary walking genre encompasses everything from the poetry of Thomas Clark (In Praise of Walking), to the prose/poetry/travel-esqueness of Robert Macfarlane (The Old Ways), to the spirituality of Thich Nhat Hanh (How to Walk). The best writing in the genre is inspiring, sweeping, mystical and practical.
For me, 2 days of scrambling in rain-soaked, muddy Alpine terrain was all it took for a poetry/prose walking book to catch my eye—in a way I’ve never been caught before, and to pick up a pen with no greater purpose than to put it down on the paper then pick it up to put it back down again. Previously, I gravitated exclusively to guidebooks with all their compact lists of trails and walks. A new life waiting in the wings of a handy list. Turns out poetry/prose was the better guide. Lighting something deeper, allowing hands to be applied to the task of writing the way feet are applied to the task of walking.
My rational (best?) side asked: “should 2 days of struggling at a high altitude give you license to write about walking?” Luckily ego requires little oxygen and even less of rational thought. And what better spur to one’s genius is there than a lack of knowledge?
So here I am, not letting thinking getting in the way. It’s just hands and feet in motion.