a walk in Jagun
between the brief thunderstorms, all bluster and little rain, we strolled to Oyster Creek – 29 Oct, 1:29 pm – 2:05 pm.
I don’t walk for fitness: “Since the time of Hippocrates walking had been especially preferred for its physical effects, and the recommended site needed to have an incline, to be exposed to open air and sunshine rather than under the cover of shade and better in a straight line than a winding path.” Celsus, De Medicina c0AD
I don’t walk over time: “Before paths disappeared from the landscape, they had disappeared from the human soul: man stopped wanting to walk, to walk on his own feet and enjoy it. What’s more, he no longer saw his own life as a path, but as a highway: a line that led from one point to another, from the rank of captain to the rank of general, from the role of wife to the role of widow. Time became a mere obstacle to life, an obstacle that had to be overcome by ever greater speed.” Milan Kundera, Nesmrtelnost (Immortality)
I don’t walk alone that often:
A favourite pleasure hath it been with me,
From time of earliest youth, to walk alone.
Along the public Way . . . Wordsworth, The Prelude
I don’t walk for art: “I do not directly rearrange, remove, sell and not return, dig into, wrap, or cut up with loud machinery any elements of the natural environment.” Hamish Fulton
I don’t walk to retrieve anything: “Often when I go for a walk I come back with a poem. There’s a sense of creativity about it, and a sense of wellbeing that you are getting the organs and lungs and the blood moving. You never come back from a walk feeling worse.” Simon Armitage
I am not obsessed by walking: “I walk out into a Nature such as the old prophets and poets, Menu, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in.” Thoreau, Walking
I don’t walk to experience the melancholy of the outsider: “I can’t believe Sebald’s walk was as miserable as he makes it sound. He was walking in the summer, staying at a pleasant hotel, visiting old friends, going to places that interested him.” Grant Gee retracing a portion of the walk Sebald made for The Rings of Saturn.
The book begins:
In August 1992, when the dog days were drawing to an end, I set off to walk the county of Suffolk, in the hope of dispelling the emptiness that takes hold of me whenever I have completed a long stint of work. And in fact my hope was realized, up to a point; for I have seldom felt so carefree as I did then, walking for hours in the day through the thinly populated countryside, which stretches inland from the coast. I wonder now, however, whether there might be something in the old superstition that certain ailments of the spirit and of the body are particularly likely to beset us under the sign of the Dog Star. At all events, in retrospect I became preoccupied not only with the unaccustomed sense of freedom but also with the paralysing horror that had come over me at various times when confronted with the traces of destruction, reaching far back into the past, that were evident even in that remote place. Perhaps it was because of this that, a year to the day after I began my tour, I was taken into hospital in Norwich in a state of almost total immobility. It was then that I began in my thoughts to write these pages.
So why do I love walking in natural environments so much? The photographs reveal why.