TITLE: A Participator in the Panorama of Nature AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: May 03, 2013 3:37 PM DESC: ----- BODY: John Burroughs, in "The Exhilarations of the Road" (1895):
[The walker] is not isolated, but one with things, with the farms and industries on either hand. The vital, universal currents play through him. He knows the ground is alive; he feels the pulses of the wind, and reads the mute language of things. His sympathies are all aroused; his senses are continually reporting messages to his mind. Wind, frost, ruin, heat, cold, are something to him. He is not merely a spectator of the panorama of nature, but a participator in it. He experiences the country he passes through--tastes it, feels it, absorbs it; the traveller in his fine carriage sees it merely.
Knee surgery ended my avocation as a runner. I used to walk a lot, too, but these days I walk even more than I used to. For more than a year, I have walked to and from work almost every day, even through the Iowa winter. As both runner and walker, I recognize the exhilaration Burroughs describes. I find that I appreciate the elements rather than curse them. Wind and frost, rain and snow, heat and cold all matter. Why complain about a driving rain? The world is alive around me. (I found Burroughs's passage in Solvitur Ambulando, a discourse on the virtues of walking in the spirit of Thoreau. I love the title as well as the essay.) -----