Wanderlust: A History of Walking

BOOK: Wanderlust: A History of Walking
5.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

PENGUIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group,
Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England

First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin,
a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. 2001
Published in Penguin Books 2001

Copyright © Rebbeca Solnit, 2000
All rights reserved

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint the following copyrighted works:
Selections from
Cold Mountain: 100 Poems
by Han-Shan, translated by Burton Watson. Copyright © 1970 by Columbia University Press. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.
“On Climbing the Sierra Matterhorn Again After Thirty-One Years” from
No Nature
by Gary Synder. Copyright © 1992 by Gary Synder. Reprinted by permission of Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
Selections from
The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara
, edited by Donald Allen. Copyright © 1971 by Maureen Granville–Smith, Administratrix of the Estate of Frank O'Hara. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

ILLUSTRATION CREDITS

Page iii: Detail of postcard, ca. 1900, showing passerby in front of Notre Dame de Paris.
1: Linda Conner,
Maze, Chartres, Cathedral, France,
1983. Courtesy of the artist.
79: Cedric White,
Sierra Club Mountaineers on Mont Resplendent in the Canadian Rockies,
1928. Courtesy William Colby Library, Sierra Club.
169:
March of the Mothers in the Plaza de Mayo,
April 1978. Courtesy of the Associacion Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires.
247:
Marina Abramovic, from The Lovers,
1988, black and white photograph. Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.

Solnit, Rebecca.
Wanderlust: a history of walking / Rebecca Solnit
p.    cm.
ISBN 978-1-1011-9955-8

Making or distributing electronic copies of this book constitutes copyright infringement and could subject the infringer to criminal and civil liability.

First edition (electronic): March 2002

Acknowledgments

I owe the origins of this book to friends who pointed out to me that I was writing about walking in the course of writing about other things and should do so more expansively—notably Bruce Ferguson, who commissioned me to write about walking for the catalog accompanying his 1996 show
Walking and Thinking and Walking
at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark; editor William Murphy, who read the results and told me I should think about a book on walking; and Lucy Lippard, who, while we were on a trespassing stroll near her home, clinched the idea for the book for me by exclaiming, “I wish I had time to write it but I don't, so you should” (though I have written a very different book than Lucy would). One of the great pleasures of writing about this subject was that, instead of a few great experts, walking has a multitude of amateurs—everyone walks, a surprising number of people think about walking, and its history is spread across many scholars' fields—so that nearly everyone I know contributed an anecdote, a reference, or a perspective to my researches. The history of walking is everyone's history, but my version of it particularly benefited from the following friends, who have my heartfelt gratitude: Mike Davis and Michael Sprinker, who supplied fine ideas and much encouragement early on; my brother David, for luring me long ago into street marches and the pilgrimage-protests at the Nevada Test Site; my bicycle-activist brother Stephen; John and Tim O'Toole, Maya Gallus, Linda Connor, Jane Handel, Meridel Rubenstein, Jerry West, Greg Powell, Malin Wilson-Powell, David Hayes, Harmony Hammond, May Stevens, Edie Katz, Tom Joyce, and Thomas Evans; Jessica, Gavin, and Daisy in Dunkeld; Eck Finlay in Edinburgh and his father in Little Sparta; Valerie and Michael Cohen in June Lake; Scott Slovic in Reno; Carolyn from Reclaim the Streets in Brixton; Iain Boal; my agent Bonnie Nadell; my editor Paul Slovak at Viking Penguin, who
took to the idea of a general history of walking immediately and made this one possible; and particularly Pat Dennis, who listened to me chapter by chapter, related much on mountaineering history and Asian mysticism to me, and walked alongside me for the duration of this book.

Part I

THE PACE OF
T
HOUGHTS

Isn't it really quite extraordinary to see that, since man took his first step, no one has asked himself why he walks, how he walks, if he has ever walked, if he could walk better, what he achieves in walking . . . questions that are tied to all the philosophical, psychological, and political systems which preoccupy the world.—
HONORÉ DE BALZAC
,
THEORIE DE LA DEMARCHÉ

An Eskimo custom offers an angry person release by walking the emotion out of his or her system in a straight line across the landscape; the point at which the anger is conquered is marked with a stick, bearing witness to the strength or length of the rage.—
LUCY LIPPARD
,
OVERLAY

We learn a place and how to visualize spatial relationships, as children, on foot and with imagination. Place and the scale of place must be measured against our bodies and their capabilities.—
GARY SNYDER
, “
BLUE MOUNTAINS CONSTANTLY WALKING

Then one day walking round Tavistock Square I made up, as I sometimes make up my books,
To the Lighthouse,
in a great, apparently involuntary rush.—
VIRGINIA WOOLF
,
MOMENTS OF BEING

In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; / But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.—
WALLACE STEVENS
, “
OF THE SURFACE OF THINGS

As a result of walking tours in Scotland while he was an undergraduate, he recalls in his autobiography,
Pilgrim's Way
(1940), that “the works of Aristotle are forever bound up with me with the smell of peat and certain stretches of granite and heather.”—
ON JOHN BUCHAN
,
FIRST BARON TWEEDSMUIR
,
IN
CHALLENGE
:
AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE LITERATURE OF MOUNTAINEERING

. . . while he himself began to walk around at a lively pace in a “Keplerian ellipse,” all the time explaining in a low voice his thoughts on “complementarity.” He walked with bent head and knit brows: from time to time, he looked up at me and underlined some important point by a sober gesture. As he spoke, the words and sentences which I had read before in his papers suddenly took life and became loaded with meaning. It was one of the few solemn moments that count in an existence, the revelation of a world of dazzling thought.—
LEON ROSENFELD
,
ON A
1929
ENCOUNTER WITH NIELS BOHR

Last Sunday I took a Walk toward highgate and in the lane that winds by the side of Lord Mansfield's park I met Mr. Green our Demonstrator at Guy's in conversation with Coleridge—I joined them, after enquiring by a look whether it would be agreeable—I walked with him at his alderman-after-dinner pace for nearly two miles I suppose. In those two Miles he broached a thousand things—let me see if I can give you a list—Nightingales, poetry—on Poetical Sensation—Metaphysics—Different genera and species of Dreams—Nightmare—a dream accompanied by a sense of touch—single and double touch—A dream related—First and second consciousness—the difference explained between will and Volition—so many metaphysicians from a want of smoking the second consciousness—Monsters—the Kraken—Mermaids—Southey believes in them—Southey's belief too much diluted—A Ghost story—. . . .—
JOHN KEATS
,
IN A LETTER TO GEORGE AND GEORGIANA KEATS

Sir, I have received your new book written against the human race, and I thank you. . . . Never was so much intelligence used to make us stupid. While reading it, one longs to go on all fours.—
VOLTAIRE TO ROUSSEAU
,
ON THE DISCOURSE ON THE ORIGIN OF INEQUALITY

The diminution of the olfactory stimuli seems itself to be a consequence of man's raising himself from the ground, of his assumption of an upright gait; this made his genitals, which were previously concealed, visible and in need of protection, and so provided feelings of shame in him.—
FREUD
,
CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS

Hand in hand with equal plod they go. In the free hands—no. Free empty hands. Backs turned both bowed with equal plod they go. The child hand raised to reach the holding hand. Hold the old holding hand. Hold and be held. Plod on and never recede. Slowly with never a pause plod on and never recede. Backs turned. Both bowed. Joined by helding holding hands. Plod on as one. One shade. Another shade.—
SAMUEL BECKETT

John and the Austrian walked one way along the shore discussing the formation of sand banks and the theories of the tides, and Charlotte & I went in the opposite direction for above two hours and lastly lay down among the long grass and gathered shells until our Handkerchiefs were quite full.—
EFFIE GRAY RUSKIN

You've got to walk / that lonesome valley / Walk it yourself / You've gotta gotta go / By yourself / Ain't nobody else / gonna go there for you / Yea, you've gotta go there by yourself
.—
TRADITIONAL GOSPEL SONG

But if a man walketh in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.—
JOHN
11:10

But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth in an even place.—
PSALMS
26:1–12

The farther pilgrims move from their common world, the closer they come to the realm of the divine. We might mention that in Japanese the word for “walk” is the same word which is used to refer to Buddhist practice; the practitioner (gyōja) is then also the walker, one who does not reside anywhere, who abides in emptiness. All of this is of course related to the notion of Buddhism as a path: practice is a concrete approach to Buddhahood.—
ALLAN G
.
GRAPARD
, “
FLYING MOUNTAINS AND WALKERS OF EMPTINESS
:
TOWARD A DEFINITION OF SACRED SPACE IN JAPANESE RELIGIONS

At the same time continue to count inhalations and exhalations as you walk slowly around the room. Begin walking with the left foot and walk in such a way that the foot sinks into the floor, first the heel and then the toes. Walk calmly and steadily, with poise and dignity. The walking must not be done absentmindedly, and the mind must be taut as you concentrate on the counting.—
INSTRUCTIONS ON WALKING MEDITATION IN
THREE PILLARS OF ZEN

Sigmund Freud believed, for example, that the psychical foundation of all travel was the first separation and the various other departures from one's mother, including the final journey into death. Journeying is therefore an activity related to a larger feminine realm, so that it is not surprising that Freud himself was ambivalent about it. Of the landscape he said, “All of these dark woods, narrow defiles, high grounds and deep penetrations are unconscious sexual imagery, and we are exploring a woman's body.”—
PAUL SHEPARD
,
NATURE AND MADNESS

The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.—
THOMAS MERTON

I was the first in six generations to leave the Valley, the only one in my family to ever leave home. But I didn't leave all the parts of me: I kept the ground of my own being. On it I walked away, taking with me the land, the Valley, Texas.—
GLORIA ANZALDUA

An active line on a walk moving freely, without goal. A walk for a walk's sake.—
PAUL KLEE
,
ALLEGORIZING DRAWING

Trebuchant sur les mots comme sur les paves (stumbling against words as against cobblestones)—
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
, “
LE SOLEIL

At the other extreme is a group of figurative monuments in Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, which try to draw the viewer back into the tumult of the past. Several works designed by James Drake along a path named Freedom Walk commemorate the brutal police repression of the famous marches in the spring of 1963. In one work, the walkway passes between two vertical slabs, from which bronze attack dogs emerge on either side and lunge into the pedestrian's space. In another the walkway leads through an opening in a metal wall faced by two water cannons; just off the wall, by the walk, are two bronze figures of African Americans, a man crumpled to the ground and a woman standing with her back against the imagined force of the water. Integrated into the pedestrian experience of the park, these monuments invite everyone—black or white, young or old—to step for a moment into someone else's shoes.—
KIRK SAVAGE

I stride along with calm, with eyes, with shoes, / with fury, with forgetfulness—
PABLO NERUDA

BOOK: Wanderlust: A History of Walking
5.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway
Ride Out The Storm by John Harris
Blood Of Gods (Book 3) by David Dalglish, Robert J. Duperre
The Widowed Countess by Linda Rae Sande
The Paradise Prophecy by Browne, Robert
Identity by Ingrid Thoft
Zombies: The Black Rock by Smith-Wilson, Simon