Unlike Jesus, I can't walk on water.[rssbreak]But get me to a ragged trail in the Don Valley or a forgotten.
Unlike Jesus, I can’t walk on water.
But get me to a ragged trail in the Don Valley or a forgotten path in the deepest, darkest port lands and I float into paradise.
Walking is a way to bend time, connect to the concrete rhythms of the city and discover the meaning of the place we inhabit.
Sights seen on foot make an unforgettable impression. Church steeples, stone faces, iron works – a divine presence can be found, too, in the dilapidation of the urban landscape. All is beautiful.
Walking is basic instinct. Primeval.
Even as cave-dwellers, we walked not just to hunt or forage for food. We chased fire and constellations.
Then came the industrial age, and like everything else caught up in the economic movement, walking became a means to an end.
American poet and naturalist Henry David Thoreau wrote about the “art” of walking: “If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man then you are ready for a walk.”
Ah. Absolute freedom. Feels like walking on water.
Advantages: This meditative form of getting around is the best way to soak up the playful psychogeography of a ‘hood. The all-weather means of motion can take you through sleet, snow, rain and shine with a simple change of clothes. Little physical coordination or balance required.
Disadvantages: You need to leave yourself a little extra time. This is, without a doubt, the slowest means of manoeuvring about town.
Eco footprint: Talk about a carbon-neutral means of transport. The only footprint you have to worry about comes from your actual footwear. Air-polluting glues, off-gassing PVC plastics and chemically tanned leathers are all responsible for some pretty nasty emissions.
Costs: Free at last. The only upfront dinero involved in making walking a full-time, cross-town habit is your investment in decent shoes and maybe an umbrella.
Body boost: Just by putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll be burning an easy 175 to 350 calories per hour, depending on how fast you like to hoof it. Plus, it’s Zenly low-impact.
Retail tip: If you’re walking-shoe shopping, ask for PVC-free footwear bound with toluene-free, water-based glue. Most major running shoe brands have made the switch. END makes vegan, PVC-free sneakers with recycled content and bamboo (endfootwear.com).