Life gets busy and quiet time for personal reflection is important. One of my goals for the New Year is to be me more deliberate with my time, and to make time for myself. I’ve neglected this recently.
For me, walking is calming and rejuvenating. I like to walk into the woods. Here, I smell the air; I hear the birds; I look at the trees. I do not think about anything. I am aware of my body moving me forward—I feel my legs working—and I feel whole.
The restorative feeling that comes from being outside is well-documented. I did a basic keyword search for “walking” in JULIEN and limited the material type to “printed matl.” Eight books were returned. I went to the call number HG 105.C2 V35 1998 for the book, Walking with Muir Across Yosemite. I browsed the titles nearby and found two other books that interested me. When doing research, browsing is a great way to find materials that you would not otherwise have considered.
So, onto the books, about walking.
David M. Carroll, author of Swampwalker’s Journal: A Wetlands Year obviously loves wetlands. He also aspires to preserve them and prevent their further degradation. In the book, he describes and shares with us his experiences with pools, marshes and swamps of New England throughout the four seasons. Carroll’s hope is that the reader will “gain a feeling of familiarity with these habitats that will engender a deeper more, personal appreciation…inspir[ing]] work toward their preservation.” The book also includes a selected bibliography on a vast topics including, identifying grasses, to the natural history of the wood turtle.
A Place between the Tides is the story of Harry Thurston’s return to the Old Marsh in Novia Scotia, which was his favorite place as a little boy. The book recounts Thurston’s rediscovery and appreciation of the Marsh which includes many descriptions of the land and animals which live there.
Thomas and Geraldine Vale, in Walking with Muir Across Yosemite, chronicle their journey following the path Muir took during his”first summer in the Sierra.” The two authors document the natural history of the route in Muir’s time and the present day; they look for what Muir may have seen and contemplate how he would react to the current landscape. They also analyze Muir’s writing, categorizing it the following ways: observation, discovery, solitude, wildness, universality, rational romanticism, and brotherhood. With these categories in mind, they map where Muir was in Yosemite when he wrote the book, and reflect on Muir’s work themselves. The book concludes with a discussion of the current policy matters related to Yosemite.
I know, like you, I will be busy in 2012—new projects will come my way and capture my interest, I will have homework to do, and events to go too—but I really am going to make a concerted effort to maintain a little more balance by walking. So join me, and turn off your computer, and get outside!