‘A walk on the Wild Side’ came to me after discussion with Antony. I wanted to introduce ‘On walking’, but he thought it wouldn’t interest people so I changed the title to the Lou Reed song which is about sexual exploration. I realized other song titles had meaning. ‘Don’t walk away Renee’ about abandonment; ‘Walking back to Happiness’ about re-finding love and friendship.
Developmentally walking has great importance for Mankind (homo erectus), but also for the infant who realises they can seek out the objects of their desire. In so doing they face the anxiety of abandonment (will mum still be there?).
So began our session with people feeling that there were many different ways of thinking about walking:
- As a way of finding oneself again
- A soothing rhythm as a counter to anxiety or depression
- Creative engagement with the environment (Wordsworth)
- A spiritual quest – the pilgrimage
- Nomadic search for new life (the Syrians)
- The Flanneur – walking without purpose
- Strutting one’s stuff – exhibitionism
- Walking for charity or a cause
- City walking versus country or fell walking
- Walking green corridors in suburbia
What does walking mean to you?