A few days ago I took a walk. My favorite park for strolling and taking in the scenery is a five minutes’ drive.
Did you notice the irony? I drive to some place so I can take a walk. Huh. Never occurred to me until just the other day, but that’s pretty ridiculous when you think about it, isn’t it?
Get in the car, drive somewhere, what’s so strange about that? I hardly think about it. It’s totally normal. What could be more natural?
Maybe . . . walking?
On the one hand, I wanted to walk in the park, not in the city. So I took the fastest, most efficient way to get through the tedium and reach the pleasure quicker. That’s not really cutting corners. I have a saying: Walk fast so you’ll have time to smell the roses when you get to them. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
But on the other hand, what else am I missing, along the road between my home and the park? How many restaurants and shops that I’ve never been to, never thought of as more than a blur going by? How many people I’ve never met? How many experiences I simply haven’t had because I’ve never even thought of them?
At least once a week, I go to the same park to escape the “rat race” of the city and get “back” to a more natural setting. I go there to get away from all the stress of work, home, family, you know, all the routine. Only now, that freedom has become a part of my routine. It’s just another way I’m giving in to the habit of habit. Another missed opportunity for exploration, discovery, and growth.
So I’m faced with a choice between the familiar, assured gratification of a simple pleasure, or the prospect of an opportunity to have unforeseeable experiences.
I’m not entirely sure what this post is about. Seems to be about several important things. All I know is that I’m probably going to take a walk tomorrow, and leave my car at home. And maybe read Thoreau’s Walking again. Familiar with it?