Solvitur Ambulando

We have had our Walking Festival, which was more interesting than it perhaps sounds - it featured a variety of characters who find they think better afoot, a view which, after all, has seemed quite reasonable since the days of Aristotle and the Peripatetics, and they all had interesting things to say about it. There are so many reasons people have for walking, after all, beyond getting from a to b, from poetry to politics, and a lot of things came out which were worth thinking about. Walking is a considerable part of my own life: city walks, getting to know a place, country walks, in which the small dramas of the hedgerows are observable by a quiet pedestrian, or walks to think something out. One thing struck me, as the event unfurled, which is that I started to enjoy walking in my mid-teens; I’d spend a Saturday walking to South Ealing, or West Ealing, even Kew: these days, letting a youngster engage on long, solitary city walks seems to be thought of practically child cruelty and also unacceptably dangerous. But there’s nothing quite like long hours on your own to help you know your own mind. I value those memories.

4 Responses to “Solvitur Ambulando”

  1. the formerly tropical Godpapa Says:

    To offer a contrary perspective, the poet Pope writes, (Friend:) “But sure, a wit can study in the streets, and raise his mind above the mob he meets.” (Pope:) “Not half so well, however, as one ought. A Hackney coach may chance to spoil and thought, and then a nodding beam or pig of lead, God knows, may hurt the very ablest head!”

    Much safer to stick to one’s grotto.

  2. Jane Says:

    spoil a thought?

  3. the formerly tropical Godpapa Says:

    Whoops, yes, ’spoil a thought’. Careless. Very. What the poet Pope would say hardly bears thinking of but I fear it would have featured in the Dunciad. Oh dear.

  4. canadian professor Says:

    Perhaps stocks on the lawn?

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