Fitness | Hiking | Nature | Philosophy | Walking

Joyful Walks

Now shall I walk
Or shall I ride?
“Ride”, Pleasure said;
“Walk”, Joy replied.

Now what shall I —
Stay home or roam?
“Roam”, Pleasure said;
And Joy — “stay home.”

Now shall I dance,
Or sit for dreams?
“Sit,” answers Joy;
“Dance,” Pleasure screams.

Which of ye two
Will kindest be?
Pleasure laughed sweet,
But Joy kissed me.
– William Henry Davies, The Best Friend

Joy and pleasure sound similar, but joy is something you can build off of, while pleasure seems more, well, short term. In the forever competition between Pleasure and Joy it’s interesting to note that walking is solidly in the corner of Joy. I’m at my best walking, and fill with joy in those moments on a trail or in the quiet places in the world. I know I’m not alone in this respect.

What makes walking so positive for the mind and soul? Something in the rhythm of walking long distances clears the fog. Reboots the brain. I don’t have a lot of eureka moments walking, but I’m always better for having done it.

Today was filled with miles of joyful walking. A poem like the Davies poem above hits you differently when you’re blissfully tired and sore from miles on the trail. Don’t get me wrong, pleasure is nice too, but today belonged to joy. And it started with a long walk.

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