Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A purposeless letter

Did you know, I didn't, that May has been officially declared 'National Walking Month'?

I learned this interesting fact whilst reading an article entitled, 'The slow death of purposeless walking'.
It's a provocative title and what the writer had to say saddened me.

Purposeless walking, it seems, is no longer fashionable or popular.  Gone are the days when Wordsworth 'wandered lonely as a cloud', and enriched the nation's poetry in so doing.  It can't be mere coincidence that the words 'wander' and 'wonder' are so similar.

Nowadays, caught up in the concept of goals and targets, we feel that walking, like everything else, should have a purpose.
We walk to keep fit, to exercise the dog, to take a short cut to the shops.

What's more, as firm believers in multi-tasking, merely walking is no longer enough.
Whilst walking we chat on our mobiles, listen to music, study our audio books, or plan the next day's equally purposeful activities.

Wouldn't you agree that we've lost the art of being aimless?
Just think about it . . . even childhood has been robbed of its purposeless pursuits.
Modern children aren't allowed the luxury of boredom.  Planned, purposeful activity is considered essential to their wellbeing.

What of the  forgotten benefits of boredom . . . the creativity and self-knowledge that boredom allows to emerge?
What of the mental space that we all need if imagination is to take root and flower?

But, wait a moment.
Could this be our opportunity to set a good example?
We'll call this a purposeless letter . . . we won't define its aim, summarise its arguments, or come to any conclusion.

Instead, I'll leave you with nothing more than this purposeless jumble of words and a reminder that May is National Walking Month.

Who knows, when you return from your purposeless walk these jumbled words might trigger your imagination and creativity.
Will they prove as powerful as Wordsworth's daffodils  . . . ?
You wander . . .  and I'll wonder . . .