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When We Walk

“When we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?” – Henry David Thoreau, Walking

I’ve been walking on pavement too often recently. The mileage is good but the spirit is muted. Your feet have a hard time connecting you to the earth when there’s three inches of asphalt separating you from it. Still, walking on asphalt is better than being indoors all day, and to be honest, I’ve experienced too much of that lately.

One recent walk took me along the Cape Cod Canal for six miles. Visually it was striking with a parade of yachts and commercial vessels streaming past on a particularly busy day. And the company was certainly good. But that connection to the earth was missing on those paved bike paths.

Maybe walks on pavement are better than nothing, but like Henry I wonder what becomes of us when we aren’t off in the fields and woods. The more we connect our feet to the earth and cover ground the more we hear our own voice. Walking flushes the toxins out of your body and soul. Sitting all the time, as we do these days with our desk jobs and a return to commuting robs us of that flushing and the ick pools up inside of us until we once again get up and out.

Today is a good day for a walk.

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