I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, entirely free from all worldly engagements. Henry David Thoreau
Sauntering is a slow walk, without hurry, that opens the heart to the little things in life.
- Take your time
- Find a kind disposition
- Arm position relaxed but close to the body; behind the back or close to the sides
- Legs relaxed and knees unlocked
- Head gently moving from side to side
- Torso leaning to one side or another in a casual posture
I’m not the only one interested in Sauntering. World Sauntering Day on August 28th was created in 1979 by W.T. Rabe in response to the growing popularity of jogging. The idea behind the day was to encourage people to slow down and appreciate the world around them.
I saunter to take in the landscape and relish my plant and tree friends along my route. Hikers bless their hearts, move too fast for me, and when forced to be paired with them, I excuse myself and make arrangements to meet later.
On one occasion, I was visiting Poas Volcano National Park in Costa Rica, intending to walk the perimeter of one of the magnificent volcanos near the capital San Jose, with two other women. They were decked out in hiking boots, wicking t-shirts, long pants that turned into shorts, long-sleeve shirts tied at the waist for protection from the sun and bugs, sunglasses, sun-shielding hat, and covered in sunscreen. I wore a t-shirt, a flannel shirt, sneakers, and carried a small backpack.
I try to look like the locals. It helps me blend in. That way I get to see things that are reserved for the everyday citizen. These two gals were not interested in blending in. They had a destination the end of the trail. They were going to reach it as fast as possible at any cost!
I took my time and caught up with the hikers later that day. I arrived and asked if they saw the cork tree? They said no. They missed several other extraordinary sites as well.
I, on the other hand, while sauntering, got to inspect the bark of a cork tree. It had specks of red, something I would never have guessed. I stood around taking in all the cork tree had to share while the sun shined on me in the blue afternoon sky. It’s a memory that moves me and takes me places where poems live.
I find it inspiring to read what others say about walking and sauntering.
Beauty surrounds us, but usually, we need to be walking in a garden to know it. Rumi
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. Frederick Nietzsche
Walking is man’s best medicine. Hippocrates
Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow. ~Henry David Thoreau
Here in Florida, there are lots of wilderness trails along rivers, and they offer eye-opening experiences as the creatures that live there share their home with me.
These walks are data collection points for concentrated writing sessions later on. Sometimes, I sit on the patio overlooking the Hillsborough River and remember what it felt like to be walking along the river trails. I tap into my senses and listen for the poems to appear. Sometimes they’re complete and need no revision, and sometimes they trickle in one word at a time.
Sauntering and walking open doors to where images and emotions live. After finding a colony of ladybugs on a young plant, I wrote a poem about how their layered wings reminded me of a burka.
cover their wings
with polka dot shells:
All my senses are game for finding connections between images and sounds. The texture of fuzzy leaves or the taste of blackberries creates an opening to other realms. Sometimes it isn’t pleasant, but it is true. My beloved cat was tender and yet wild, so when writing about her, it became a necessity to tell the entire story.
Ready for any dining experience
Sauntering brings me pleasure, peace, and poetry. Tell us where you saunter or if you saunter alone or with others.