Sometimes it takes a long time to get things into perspective, a lifetime even, and then it often occurs as one of those “aah ha!” moments. Such a one came this week when Bennett Raines visited my blog and led me to his post about sauntering. What a beautiful and helpful explanation to show how Sainte Terre developed into the word “saunter”.
Sauntering, walking gently on the earth as a sacred act, just being. So this is what I have practiced unawares for a lifetime.
I love to walk with the intent of discovering, of happening upon with no set distance goals, number of steps or time limits but just to allow. My slow pace and constant stopping to listen, look, feel, smell, collect, photograph or just be is what makes people irritated if I join them for a walk. My pace and attitude are all too often regarded as out of sync, dawdling, too slow.
Often people take up walking to get fit, or may need to get from “a to b” in the shortest possible time, or decide to to get some fresh air. Recently I noticed walkers on the beach. Eyes ahead, hooked up to i pods or deep in conversation, striding briskly; they appeared to be totally oblivious to their surroundings, closing out the sounds of the sea and gulls, of children playing, a guitarist singing, the hoots of laughter as a group of boys tried some fence vaulting, dogs barking, traffic humming.
Even sadder was to realise they were not noticing the beauty around as sunset began to paint everything in rosy light. They did not notice the sand art of the pippi’s and crabs or the beautiful arcs made by the gulls as they hovered over the ocean waiting for the fish coming in with the tide. Eyes were focused on a particular checkpoint, or glancing at watches and pedometers, minds focused upon that slave driver,” time”, or life distractions.
Indeed they were getting fit, exercising, caring for the body yet completely overlooking one of the more important reasons to walk which is to not only to just be be in nature but also allow nature to inspire , teach and heal. The focus purely on exercise denied that essential need for a whole (holisitc) fitness that encompasses body, mind and soul. Sometimes we just need to take time to saunter, to walk slowly, attentive to one’s surroundings. Time to allow oneself to just experience awe.
For me to saunter is essential it is the source for creating .
and for imagination.
To saunter is to replenish and fill the soul with wonder and beauty, to lift the spirits, to be at one with all that is.