Against the grain

One good Birkerts quote leads to another. Here he describes how useful and enlightening it can be to reverse a familiar walk. Turn around. Go the other way. See how things look from the other perspective.

…going against the grain of my usual track, seeing every single thing from the other side, was suddenly welcome… the waft of that elusive something added to the usual air. Habit and repetition. It’s not as if I don’t know this other walk intimately too– not as if I haven’t taken it  hundreds of times over what are now becoming these years of walking. How is it I haven’t written more on this topic? It’s been a big part of the day’s business for years. I don’t remember when I started.The Other Walk

I started in college. I’m still circling, still trying to enclose something amorphous but important. Or maybe it’s just become important to me that I keep circling, to occupy myself with something rather than nothing. I like to think of myself as sleuthing a mystery, following a trail to some unforeseen revelation. Or to nothing at all. But I’ll keep tracking ’til I can’t, and like Sven I’ll turn around when the trail goes cold.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there. But Sven’s in Minnesota, I think. We probably won’t cross paths, except in words. Good reason to read, indeed.

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