“Let’s walk there”. When is the last time you said that?
In our suburban days we rarely walked. If we did it was for “exercise”.
Once in a great while a winter squall would come in the middle of the night. I’d get up to take a wee-hours ramble, enjoying how the thick blanket of snow muffled the neighborhood’s normal sights and sounds. I felt like I had the world to myself in those rare moments.
Now that we live a more mobile lifestyle we are more likely to walk. At times it’s just to enjoy the scenery of whatever park or campground we happen to be in. Other times, it’s again for exercise to counter the effects of the work that keeps us on screens more than we prefer.
In the small town we’ve summered in we’ve walked just to “get there”. We walked to:
- the grocery store (2.2 miles)
- the local fair (3 miles)
- the bar downtown for a burger (3 miles)
Aeon Magazine recently published an article entitled The End of Walking in which the author lays out a case for how:
...Americans have been stripped of the right to walk, challenging their humanity, freedom and health.Antonia Malchik @Aeon.com
It’s an uncomfortable read - moreso for those of us living on the road.
Our life is predicated on the freedom and mobility that automobiles and interstates allow.
Yet our dependance on vehicles is a means to an end - because our destinations are often places where we want to get out and walk, to see natural beauty, and the way our country might have been before those highways existed.
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While the Aeon article references Orwell, I was reminded of Ray Bradbury.
In 1951 Bradbury published a short story entitled The Pedestrian (.pdf) which foretells a future that the Aeon article argues is already our reality.
Here’s an animated version of Bradbury’s tale in which you can see the fate of a late-night walker in 2053:
Are you exercising your right to walk?
RUN to the closest place for a great walk the next chance you can get.