A short piece by Sandra Cowan on the notion of boundary walking.
By Ben Kilbourne, Backpacking Light
As part of your formation with the Order of Walkers, there are questions you must pose to gain insight and promote growth. Ponder the age old “Why I walk”? A simple question but a difficult answer to articulate. There are no wrong answers. It’s a big sky and your essay of reasoning has a place.
The question to oneself, Why do I walk ? perhaps speaks to why The Order exists and why it continues to regenerate with an unfailing youthful enthusiasm. I admire those who have sat down and constructed a coherent essay as to why they walk. It is not an easy navigable path. It cuts to the person you are and the way you see the world.
The Order commends this “Why I Walk” essay by Ben Kilbourne to you.
James Valentine presents us with an opinion piece that is quite simple and obvious, yet periodically journalists need to reiterate it. For some reason humans continue to defy their own evolution and embrace labour saving devices to their detriment.
Moving at Pace
I see no value in planning a journey, short or long, and then attempting to complete it as fast as possible. The journey is the gift. That being said, it is ironic that I like to read about such human endeavours, and I do respect the mental and physical resolve one must have to face up to the challenge.
This article in bushwalk.com magazine, documents a “Fastest Known Time”. I enjoy reading such track reports because I know the country that is being traversed and there is a comfort knowing that it is still there waiting for me to get there ever so slowly.
The question beckons. Are these athletic contestants sympathetic to the values of the Order of Walkers? The Order is a broad church. At its core there is the same kernel of adventure, yearning and curiosity. I am reminded of Arthur Barrett’s 1893 Melbourne to Sorrento dash where the competition of man, time and geography played out in some quixotic night time adventure. It’s in the DNA and its execution satisfies a primal urge. The urge to keep moving.
I commend this article to the Order.
Over on walkspace , Pete Ashton presents this human anomaly for your musing.
What is a constitutional ? It’s an old time expression referring to one’s vitality, health and strength. Often a purposeless walk for some fresh air and limited exercise for one’s general well being. Over exertion is not encouraged.
The covid 19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with capitalism around the world. It has changed the evening constitutional in a positive way and I am now cherishing these night time wanders around my district. Our population is heeding the exhortation to stay at home and as such our night time suburban streets are filled with the quiet of a small country town. Early on, when daylight saving was still alive there were many people out wandering after their dinner, but since the return to normal time the streets are vacant after dark. Traffic noise, that normally backgrounds the landscape is non existent, noisy neighbours and loud music playing from cars or houses is bygone.
We are now in the easter week, and a full moon decorates the evening sky. I am seeing both ring tail and brushtail possums emerging from their daylight hiding places and doing their fancy trapeze work over powerlines to trees. As I descend into gullies I can feel the change of temperature and hear the sweet song of frogs in darkened water bodies. I still notice the light pollution, too much precious energy is wasted on keeping lights on for the people who are not around to use it. Some dogs are being walked by masters who have giant headphones on without wires. The poor dog. How does he communicate with his master? Are we breeding a generation of dogs that in the future will exhibit security and detachment issues that will require years of therapy.
Then of course we have the earthlings that walk with smartphones out in front of them at a non rhythmic pace doing god knows what. The evening constitutional is not about taking your phone for a walk. It is not a good look and for those guilty of it consider yourself chastened. The evening constitutional is everything else. It’s deliberate breathing, it’s going in a direction you may not have been before, it’s about discovery of your neighborhood, maybe a chat with the old bloke at the end of the road, maybe a pat of the leashed dog on the end of the big pair of headphones.
In any case this is a special time in our history. This will all be over soon enough and the din of capitalism will once again return. Enjoy the respite and take an evening constitutional.
– The Provost
James Strofeldt is a surgeon and psychotherapist from Melbourne, Australia, and a climber for over thirty years. This twenty five minute interview was originally broadcast on RN’s blueprint for living segment “Lost and Found”. James articulates his deep connection to being outside and gives us an insight into the high altitude mountain climber. A great interview.