All posts tagged: Walking

Daydreaming Makes a Comeback

I became a fan of daydreaming while on sabbatical. Daydreaming has a long history, but in today’s culture of speed and action the idea of doing nothing generally has negative connotations. It goes by many names: boredom, weariness, ennui, lack of enthusiasm, lack of interest, apathy, sluggishness, malaise, tedium, tediousness, dullness, monotony, repetitiveness, routine, humdrum, dreariness . . . well, you get the point. I’m happy to report that the positive aspects of daydreaming are making a comeback. When I had the time on sabbatical to stop and reflect, I realized that I was often busy simply for the sake of being (or looking) busy.  If I was busy I was doing important work.  But I began to realize that being constantly busy wasn’t healthy, productive, or fun. A number of authors have written that there is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom.  So while in Rome, I took up the habit of a daily walk without any sense of purpose other than just to exist in that space. To daydream. I enjoyed how it …

GW Flowers

Life is already too short to waste on speed

A sabbatical should be a time to reflect on the “why” and “how” of life.  In trying to extend that reflection into my re-entry into the world of everyday work, I have continued to read outside my usual scope of interest. In a book I was reading on the train this morning, Edward Abbey — who has been called the enfant terrible of American environmentalism — was quoted as having had some good things to say about walking. “Walking takes longer, for example, than any other form of locomotion except crawling.  Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.  Life is already too short to waste on speed….Walking makes the world much bigger and therefore more interesting.  You have time to observe the details.“ I love the line “Life is already too short to waste on speed.” On this morning’s walk to work, I passed the flower beds in the University Yard at GW.  It was a reminder to take the time to observe the details. More to come… DJB IMAGE: Flower beds at George Washington …

Observations from the Road: (“The Pedometer is Getting a Workout” Edition)

Rome has steps. Everywhere.  A lot of steps.  (Yes, I can confirm for Mrs. Reeves, my sophomore English teacher, that I know a “lot” is a field and not “many” but I like the way “a lot of steps” sounds.) So begins this edition of “Observations from the Road” (or “The Pedometer is Getting a Workout” edition). For those who may be new to More to Come…, the “Observations from…” series are short – often meaningless – comments that don’t deserve a full blog post (or perhaps even the light of day) but that hasn’t stopped me from posting them in the past.  So here goes with the current edition. I’m going to break the pedometer – Everyone who has been to Rome told us that we’d walk a great deal…but I guess I didn’t really believe it until we arrived and started walking.  And believe me, I love to walk. Rome is a wonderful city to see from the sidewalk (or the middle of the street, where a great deal of walking appears to …

Walking as an act of citizenship

I love the fact that smart phones now have built-in pedometers. Knowing I can count my steps has encouraged me to find opportunities to walk around the places I live and work each day. In the process I’ve become much more familiar with the Foggy Bottom Historic District (near the Watergate where I work) and Silver Spring (near my home).  In snowy weather, as we’ve seen this weekend on the east coast, walking is sometimes our only reliable means of transportation. Fred Kent, the founder of the Project for Public Spaces, has noted that “If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” Walking doesn’t have to be for any great purpose.  The BBC News Magazine had a recent article that highlighted the “just to walk” stroll – titled appropriately The Slow Death of Purposeless Walking. “But the same study found that a mere 17% of trips were “just to walk”. And that included dog-walking. It is that ‘just …