In Praise of Curiosity

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"Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." ~ Mary Oliver

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Take walks early and often, and always take the most beautiful route available to you.

"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks — who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea." (Heny David Thoreau, "Walking")

I previously wrote of my "morning rules" and, of all of them, this has been the one that I have kept most consistently. I take my inspiration for these walks from Henry David Thoreau's "Walking". The idea of "purposeful sauntering" has been a great inspiration for me and I have noticed so often that a long walk can serve to clear my mind and reset in the midst of a period of stress, restlessness, or aimlessness. How surprising it seems to me that the cure for aimlessness and lack of inspiration is an apparently "purposeless" activity such as walking. It makes me think of that phrase from the seminal philospher, Winnie the Pooh, (from the movie "Christopher Robin) that "Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something." 


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