A walking meditation, a meditation on walking
I have always walked a lot, and when I walk, I think. Sometimes I think about the sensory experience of walking; the experience of picking up and putting down feet and moving through space. Walking clears my head. Walking meditation is a Buddhist practice. Obviously, walking is good for the body as well.
I have contemplated the surfaces I’ve walked on: hard surfaces, soft surfaces, sandy surfaces, gooey surfaces, surfaces with plants, surfaces with water, and on and on. I have taken particular note of how trees affect (effect?)* sidewalks.
When I was a student at the University of Oregon, I would walk to class on the side of University St. next to the Pioneer Cemetery where there was no paving, only hard packed dirt. In the rainy season the dirt became slick mud. It was a mental challenge to travel that block without landing on your ass. I thought of an environment which is a path and a collection of different surfaces, textures, and features that are common, ubiquitous, and mostly unnoticed. The path is endless, so it could be a circle or ellipse, or an irregular shape, (and maybe it should be). But I choose a shape, which is similar to a figure eight, called an analemma. You can find an analemma on most globes. The analemma plots the position of the sun from a fixed spot on earth, throughout the year. It’s a kind of clock, I guess. I can’t say I understand all of the geometry and astronomy involved, but I love the shape, I love the time marking aspect, and I love the name.