The Wood is shining this morning.
Red. Gold and green. The leaves
Lie on the ground, or fall,
Or hang full of light in the air still.
Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes
The place it has been coming to forever.
It has not hastened here, or lagged.
See how surely it has sought itself,
Its roots passing lordly through the earth.
See how without confusion it is
All that it is, and how flawless
Its grace is. Running or walking, the way
Is the same. Be still. Be still.
~ Wendell Berry
This ancient Latin phrase loosely translates as “It is solved by walking.” A walk is a journey that requires very little — neither planning nor passport, neither ticket nor equipment. Nearly always at our disposal, a walk provides so much more than just a change of scenery. Walking has helped me decide what is wise and what is foolhardy, has made me fall in love with a place, has batted away my melancholy. Walking has helped me loosen the grip technology has on my life, giving me space and permission to disconnect from my devices that beg for my attention and feed my anxiety. Most of all, walking has nurtured my creativity as I struggle to give tangible form to abstract ideas.
~ Bonnie Smith Whitehouse, in the introduction to Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking
Is giorra cabhair Dé ná an doras.
Divine help is closer than the door.
If you have a few moments, please watch Blessings, a short film, at Emergence Magazine. There are no ads, no spamming of any sort. It’s a beautiful reading of part of David Whyte’s Blessings poems.
I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone — better jobs, health care, and so forth — there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met — in my utopia, anyway — life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.
~ Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America
It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.
~ Saint Francis of Assisi
Walking, in particular drifting, or strolling, is already — with the speed of culture of our time — a kind of resistance… A very immediate method for unfolding stories.
~ Francis Alys
I have been trying to come up with a good way to introduce Frank. Some of you might already by familiar with him from his blog, A Frank Angle. Frank and I go back quite a ways in blog years although I can’t say exactly when we met in cyberspace and cybertime. It was back in my Life in the Bogs days, that much I know for sure. He has been a great blogging companion and has joined in on quite a few Walktobers (his first, I think, was in 2013). Honestly, I think if you really want a hint of who Frank is, go read the comments in his last post at A Frank Angle, On the Finale: The Puzzle’s Last Piece. Frank had a big impact on a lot of people, bringing a diverse group of us together for musicals (always great fun!), politics, satire, and more. One of the comments describes Frank’s blog as a front porch and it’s true. That is what it felt like when we gathered there for music or discussions. Here is what I wrote as my final comment:
Frank, my friend, you have me in tears. Good tears, though, for a good man who created this wonderful place for people to meet. When you wrote about your visitors and how you connected with people, you left out how we visitors also connected with each other in various ways. You’ve created this amazing web, all by being yourself. Well done. Very well done.
Frank posted his final post at A Frank Angle, On the Finale: The Puzzle’s Last Piece, in February with hints of possibly more to come. I am honored and pleased to bring you this guest post from Frank as a sampling of what his new blog, opening on October 20th, will be gifting to us. Beach Wak Reflections is the name of Frank’s new blog.
Without further ado…Embed from Getty Images
I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
Ever think about seeds? They seem so simple at a glance – even on closer examination. We typically think of a hard, thin outer shell with a softer inside.
We do not know how this pandemic will change our lives, change the scenery of our world. For how long will “social distancing” remain? Will we ever return to cheap crowded flights? How long and desperate will the food lines get? It is as if someone has pulled the thread that held it all together, even as we struggle to “return to normal.” But the question is, what story are we trying to tell ourselves? Or are we between stories, in a state of unknowing and insecurity? What are our dreams telling us, what is the message of our hearts? As Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.” Is this a moment when the light can come in through the cracks, through the structures in our civilization that have been shown to fail?
~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee