An image of life itself

I started walking seriously in college, in the late 70s. Coincidentally, that’s also when English travel writer John Man published Walk! It Could Change Your Life…, a used unjacketed copy of which has been languishing unnoticed and unread for many years on a shelf in my Little House out back (the rear porch of which is my conveniently remote summer office).

It’s an undeservedly neglected gem. My Philosophy Walks project has finally drawn me to it. Full of insight and delight, drawings, period photos, judiciously selected quotations, and practical tips for dedicated walkers (including a section at the end on stretching), I’m happy to acknowledge an unsung fellow philosopher of walking.

There’s nothing about Walk! in John’s published biographical note. I suppose he considers it too slight (compared with his impressive subsequent body of work) to mention. I would differ with that judgment, and concur enthusiastically with his conclusion:

Walking means seeing the unseen, understanding, friendship, privacy, emotional perspective, physical capacity… an image of life itself.

Early in the book, Man offers a partial taxonomy of walking styles including the Peripatetics’ “stroll” – ” the type of locomotion adopted by tourists, lovers, promenaders and thinkers.”

I actually think better, I think, at a faster clip. With dogs. Without a stick.

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