I recently read a reference to our lost appreciation of walking for enjoyment, strolling.
Strolling used to be an American custom, but hasn’t been for a long time. It still remains a powerful one in most European countries, especially in the Mediterranean …. The courtship ritual of the paseo[that is in Italy] allows young couples to be alone in public. Wandering one late Sunday summer afternoon on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, I noticed that amid the strollers—young and old, fat and thin, single, in couples, and in larger groups—the only people moving at a more intense pace were the determined American joggers, oblivious of the pine trees, the views, and the fresh air, impervious to everything except their pulse rate and the chore at hand.Willard Spiegelman, Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009), 61.es, “Never did running seem so inappropriate, so unnecessary, so modern.”
It reminded me of a favorite passage in Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow.”
“We walked always in beauty, it seemed to me. We walked and looked about, or stood and looked. Sometimes, less often, we would sit down. We did not often speak. The place spoke for us and was a kind of speech. We spoke to each other in the things we saw.”
Like my parents, I have always enjoyed walking. Here they are in Savannah in 2011.