Symphony of Symbiosis is Walking and Writing
Geoff Nicholson, in his book titled “The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism”…has wonderfully captured the different faces and facets of not only the art of walking but also the science behind walking. He aesthetically examines the role of walking as an unlimited source of inspiration to artists, musicians and writers like Bob Dylan, Charles Dickens to Buster Keaton. It is the way we walk and the place we walk and with whom we walk and what time of the day we walk adds up to define the person we are and the way world perceives our personality.
Walking is a profoundly universal manifestation of existence and that instantly amplifies our thought with that momentary spark of imagination when we start to walk. Click To Tweet
Symbiosis describes close interactions between two or more different species. It is different from regular interactions between species, because in a symbiotic relationship, the two species in the relationship live together. This symbiotic relationship can be with choice or out of compulsion; in the case of “walking and writing” it is very much a case of choice for bringing symphony in our life. Symphony is a beautiful piece of music or harmony of sounds or combination of colors…walking provides that perfect sync in our writing.
Walking and Writing, how can these two go hand in hand when we are talking of two diagonally opposite tasks, one that of the leg and the other that of the hand, what is the connection between the physical exercise and the mental exercise. Isn’t it a far-fetched proposition to connect two disconnected joints? Since it both starts with the same letter we cannot just write about the derived connection which clearly appears that the connected bridge is deprived of sense both logically and emotionally.
It is treading the wrong path even though it sounds right.
It is trespassing into the protected place our mind space.
It is testing the connection of odds with the even numbers.
There is a divided boundary between the physical space and the mental space. Though we can create a common space in any such division, in this case it is over simplification of the connection. It is not therapeutic but it definitely can amount to catharsis. The thought of stitching together two completely diverse things, one fabric and one metal, one is chalk and the other is cheese. Therein lies the common thread, the thread to tread the path of creativity and connecting the disconnected points makes it fascinating to watch and the results are invariably amazing. When we look at fashion designing, there are so many odds at place and we see the even connection of the odds. We see the hidden pattern in the combination of odd. And the emerging patterns are truly fascinating. All disconnected points are connected seamlessly and that too in a very subtle fashion, creating the odds in favor of fashion. Fashion designing is about creativity and playing with our creative senses.
Wanderlust: History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit brings together many histories of walking and creates fascinating portraits of a range of possibilities presented by walking. She argues the history of walking from general pleasure to political gains, from short distance walk to long distance walk of act have shaped our culture and influenced poets to philosophers. She has beautifully profiled some of the most significant walkers from William Wordsworth to Gary Snyder.
There is a subtle connection between these two paradoxical tasks of walking and writing, the connection is through the neurons of our brain, while walking we make our mind to calm down and mind to get its control back. Writing is essentially about thinking and unless we have calm and controlled mind, the writing will never take the desired shape, it will be chaotic, randomly wondering and though organized wondering is good for writers which gives the wings to fly unchartered territories and the fuel to venture into unknown space to seek adventure.
How on earth we can expand our horizon unless we start going beyond the horizon of our conventional working and thinking, we need to break the barriers of conventions and create new frontiers of space to be explored and conquered. Human Mind is a power house and that power gets endlessly and needlessly dissipated unless put to create use, though the use needs to be constructive but who can control our mind and it keeps going in multiple directions and we have the destructive forces that keeps trying to prove their hegemony in an otherwise harmonious world.
How to balance that heterogeneity in our mind?
Everything is in the mind and that mind needs nurturing and it can come while walking in the nature and this may sound simple but has the supreme power of nature to calm us done when we are with nature and when we align our duty of our mind with the beauty of nature.
There is a formation of wonderful symphony between body and mind that’s symbolizes the art and science of living a beautiful life. It is in the uncanny balance between walking and writing. Click To Tweet
Frederic Gros, in his book “A Philosophy of Walking”, a leading thinker charts the different ways we get from one place to the other, from pilgrimage to the promenade, and it reveals what that walk talk about the philosophy behind that walk. He brings the focus onto many thinkers who expressed their views about walking being the core engagement to foster their practice…how Rousseau walked to think, how Nietzsche wandered the mountains to write and how Kant marched to his home town to escape the compulsion of thoughts.
Walking is the only place we have nothing to do except think and think, observe and observe, and feel better and better as we build on the momentum of walking and at the end we are completely relaxed and our mind is calm and clear to absorb new things and sort out the clutter that was disturbing us with the load and luggage of old and odd things. We cannot improve our health by walking once or walking randomly, there has to a pattern and there has to a regime to get the health card on track with regular walking.
Henry David Thoreau, in his essay on Walking, explores the joy and necessities of walking in afternoon, how spending time in untrammeled fields and woods soothes the spirit, how nature guides us on our walk, how walking nurtures the nature of an artist to writer, and how all things are wild and free.
Writing is not a one-off exercise and we cannot be good writing just writing here and there, once a while or being casual or careless in writing schedule, it needs to be regular and it needs to be rigorous. We cannot be improved writer just by walking or walking fast will not make us a better writer or walking long distance once a while will do any good to our writing. There is a subtle connection. It has to be discovered and it has to nurture and it takes time and it takes practice and once we get the pulse, it prospers automatically as it goes into an auto mode. We don’t have do anything, we have to keep doing the two things and keep relating the two activities and once relationship is establishment and we have linked the bridge, our mind crosses over it without stoppage or question.
Great writers like Charles Dickens, Virginia Wolf, Henry David Thoreau and William Wordsworth have leveraged the power of walking into the words of their writing and their writings have gained wings to fly high and higher with walking and more walking…Aristotle, Kant, Plato and Socrates have wondered in life before they become such great philosophers.
Writing goes through that bout of ups and down, writing goes through that roller coaster ride, writing goes through that swing, writing goes through that oscillation, writing goes through that vibration and sound, writing goes through that rough ride to smooth ride, writing goes through that silence and the storm, and all these adds up to the variety and array of experience that makes it spicy and entertaining.
Writing cannot be straight jacketed to the convention and we get stuck in the conventional mode of thinking and writing. There needs to be a break and there needs to be detour and there needs to be change in track and when we venture into new places and new ways and we start seeing the wonders so wonderfully ensconced within the cocoons of the different corners and different connections that we have never looked into or have explored, it opens a spectrum of opportunities for a creative person like writer to capture and translate into stories.
Walking is not complex, it is such a simple thing to do and perhaps because it is so simple we take it for granted and since it is intangible we don’t realize and since it is not documented we don’t have the available knowledge to consume, it is not readily available and it is not generally in the public domain. This comes out of experience of walking and it comes of engagement with nature while walking and it comes out a powerful combination of getting the experience and engagement with “walking and writing”…
Walking and Writing is a deadline combination wherein the walking produces the liveliness that is consistently needed in our writing. There is an uncanny paradox in life and death, and creative writing loves those paradox and resides in the bedrock of paradox are the profound power of thoughts that can change the way we think, and the vision, the way look at the world around us and the way we as humanity would love to design our style of living and define our quality of life.