Solitude

The feeling of a good walk is of connected solitude, of self-possessed relatedness to the ground beneath one’s feet and all those other dawn treaders (on two legs or four) we share it with. It’s not at all a feeling of loneliness, or even aloneness, even on those rare days when it’s too hot for canine or other companionship.

Good walks engender humane and empathetic fellow-feeling, they break through all isolating walls, material and notional. This goes for mundane neighborhood strolls no less than for extraordinary treks in remote and exotic locales. Emerson’s crossing his “bare common” in a state of  exhilaration is one kind of example. One of Admiral Byrd’s 1934 Antarctic rambles (as related by Anthony Storr)  is another. “Took my daily walk at 4 p.m. today in 89° of frost… I paused to listen to the silence…”  

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