I’ve passed a neighbor of ours jogging around the neighborhood many times—for thirty years! I once praised him for his perseverance and discipline (he’s 70 plus now) and he told me, “My father wasn’t always a fount of wisdom, but the most useful thing he ever said to me was, ‘Keep moving, son.’ I took that to heart and never regretted it for a day.”
Today I bussed to an agency downtown to get my Ghana Visa and decided to walk home the eight miles or so through the city. Besides the pleasure of noting the different neighborhoods and architecture and sitting in a park or two reading my book, my mind began to kick into a higher gear than usual. I completely mapped out the form of the 4th grade pieces for the Spring Concert this Thursday, tried to sing a new be-bop tune I just learned on piano (maddeningly difficult, but kept my attention for some ten blocks), vowed to stop complaining about all the books I’m not writing and starting to sketch out a timetable for the next one, with a satisfying title.
As often happens when a simple revelation hits me over the head, I end up confessing to myself and now to you: “I’m a fool. Such a simple thing to do and how seldom I choose to do it.” Walking stimulates thought and is good for you besides! Duh! And if you walk without a phone on or music blaring in your headphones, useful, interesting and inspiring thought can bubble up. I don’t think I’d have that quality of thought in a gym or a Zumba workout. I have it sometimes bike riding, but for some reason, walking is a bit better. Maybe the brain is freed up from watching out for dangerous cars, I don’t know. Of course, it does need time—it took me about three leisurely hours to walk that full distance. And time is something I often convince myself I don’t have. But I do.
Keep moving. Sound advice. And related to the way I often sign off letters these days: