On Walking

Elsberry Mountain Road in the mid 1980s. Photo by me.


Walking for enjoyment is as intrinsic to me as the color of my eyes. I have enjoyed walking since I was a young boy in Paulding County and that continues today. As a child I walked all over the wooded landscape of New Hope, over the ridges, followed the narrow and twisty creeks and up to Elsberry Mountain to see from where I came and where I would eventually go as a young adult. In some of the stories I have written in Dweller On The Boundary and in Terminal Wake walking is as much a part of the story as the characters.

There is a freedom that comes from walking, the sense that you can go anywhere that your feet will take you like a bird's wings through the sky. Maybe I came to value walking so much because of the time I wore a cast for my club foot and had limited mobility. It is also a good way to air out the mind and let the thoughts ventilate.

Walking gives humans a closer connection to the land and the environment, whether on a trail through the woods or a city sidewalk. A person is less a part of the world inhabiting the tin can cage of a moving vehicle. On your feet you feel the surface through contact with the soft dirt or the hard concrete. You feel the wind in your hair and the sun warming the exposed skin instead of the seated smoothness of a car. Sound comes uncontrolled and random instead of the chosen soundtrack on the car stereo. Walking is the untamed and the sometimes unpredictable way to get from one place to another. You learn to appreciate the distance between places on your feet.


Me in the woods of Georgia. January 2021.

There is a symbolism in my walking in that it represents moving forward from where I was when I began. In writing about the past I must sit down, think and circle back to New Hope or whatever part of the past I choose to contemplate. Walking brings me back the present and keeps me moving along in life so that I do not linger  long in the quicksand of the past.