Turning on the TV on a Sunday afternoon is rarely productive. Relaxing, yes, often necessarily so, but not productive.
Today I flicked through ABC (Australia) and stumbled upon a short documentary about the writer Will Self and his obsession with walking. In 2010 he walked from his home in south London to Heathrow, boarded a plane, then walked from Los Angeles airport to Hollywood. The walk was a means to an end, not to arrive in Hollywood, but to connect with the urban landscape and provide inspiration and introspection for a narrative for a new book.
It didn’t turn out all rosy for him, taking him on unexpected mental twists so that although he arrived in Hollywood as planned, inside he was lost. But along the way he said, “Walking is the pace of thinking”. Walking is 4/4 time, a beat set by your own body at the speed of your brain’s choosing.
I often walk quite fast, but that doesn’t make me a fast thinker. Quite the opposite in fact; I’m forcing myself to minimise the time I spend walking so I can get to home or to work and back to the latest distraction from my brain. My thoughts when walking like this are very little beyond the observational (“oh, the jasmine on that fence is dying”) and the shallow (“what’s for dinner?”).
But Self’s comment was a reminder that walking for the sake of walking is when I love taking photos the best. The surroundings soak in and my brain bumbles along, and suddenly images spring to my eye that I’d never noticed before.
Walking around Richmond Park, London, netted me these two little details.