By Lentus Ambulandus, who is getting ready to draw another line on a map.
My bedtime reading these days is While Wandering – A Walking Companion, edited by Duncan Minshull. A collection of stories, poems, and essay excerpts dealing with all aspects of walking, trekking, and vagabonding, it’s organized by theme: “Why Walk”; “Setting Off”; “With Nature”; “On The Road”; “You Walked?” and so on.
The chapter called “How To Walk” contains practical matters of critical importance: boots vs shoes, one spare sock or two, and a discussion of the best pre-walking stimulant (tea, they say, but I disagree…experience has taught me that coffee is best in the morning, followed by beer mid-day). Among those entries is one called “Maps”, taken from Stephen Graham’s The Gentle Art of Tramping (1926).
Have you seen enough of the world? Are you sure you will rest content at Kensal Rise of Père Lachaise when the time comes? Take a map to the world and a blue pencil, go back in memory over the whole of your life, start the pencil at your birthplace and begin to draw the line of your goings to and fro in this world. How you will rejoice in yourself if you can conduct that blue pencil chart across a great ocean, across Atlantic or Pacific! The longer and more bulging and more loopy the line the more you will feel you have lived. In the later years of your life you will be able to say: ‘I was born into the world and I have seen something of it.’
Happy rambling this weekend.