Plymouth to Wembury 10 miles
As we ferried out of Plymouth this morning, and begin the final phase of our long walk, I found my thoughts drifting back to Thoreau’s essay Walking. This is something I have found myself doing religiously for years now, and even after hundreds of careful readings I marvel at the depths of possibilities there are yet to plumb there!
Very early on, in his foundational positioning for why taking walks (mythic journey’s) are key toward human development, he makes the following statements:
“I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years almost together.”
and, shortly further along
“So staying in the house, on the other hand, may produce a softness and smoothness, not to say thinness of skin, accompanied by an increased sensibility to certain impressions.”
In reading these two passages I was struck by the connections and relevance they have toward education, especially after having spent my professional life as an educator, and the fact that culturally we do indeed confine our youth to institutional classrooms for days, weeks, months, and years. Their best years! This then likewise begs the questions of what moral insensibilities we thus inculcate, and what actual impressions we are increasing their sensibility toward? Given that my wife Andrea and I are working upon a book about why taking long walks, and embarking upon them in the spirit of mythic adventure, are critical needs within educational endeavors and rites-of-passage work, we are looking to see if through social media we can reach out and connect to all the friends, students, and fellow adventurers who have undertaken long walks and outdoor adventures with us over the years. Our question, relative to these remarks by Thoreau, is what these experiences did for you? The same question goes to any and all who likewise share the interest and passion for taking walks, and rites-of-passage for youth. You could send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, where we would delight in taking up the conversation further with you. We hope that all who read this will share this and spread it with friends so that the net gets cast far and wide, reaping a response that echoes loudly.
It is in wildness that the world will be preserved!