I used to walk in the dead of night. I used to walk to clear my head. So when my feet felt as though made of lead, I walked to let my mind soar.
Ah, there’s the trouble. I say ‘used to’ because these days, walking just doesn’t do it for me anymore. At least, not the way it used to. My feet are ‘walk and walk’, but it’s my thoughts that sink down. My feelings are diffuse, too muddy to untangle; I couldn’t tell my head from I a** even if I wanted to.
About a year ago, I came across a passage on sparknotes while I was reading ‘Persuasion’. It read:
Walking is a motif that is employed throughout Persuasion and Austen’s other novels. When characters go for walks in the novel, it often signals a period of character development. Walking entails conversing with others, commenting on one’s surroundings, and reacting to the world outside. It allows an author to expand upon her reader’s understanding of a character by bringing the character out into a different light. In Persuasion, walks are essential for the progression of Anne and Captain Wentworth’s relationship. Anne learns of his feelings regarding female constancy on one of their initial walks, and at the end they reveal their feelings to each other on a walk home through the park. Walking is a frequent and essential motif.
Maybe I can’t do the walking by myself anymore. Maybe that sort of walking has run its course for the time being. After all, identity is the result of an interaction (Taboada-Leonetti 2002); character development requires a sounding board. My thoughts alone only bring me so far. Maybe the way to walk, to move forward, is not to do it by yourself, but to let others in from time to time, share the doubts, trade experiences, feel emotions. Maybe my walking needs more conversing… to bring me to another place.