woensdag 11 september 2013

Day 28. Walking with Robert van Heumen

Moving on. The strike is over but the train breaks down. Getting stuck the whole afternoon again. Arriving late in Vorey. 17.00 The wise thing to do is choose a campsite. There is one with 3 and one with 4 stars. But the mountains stare at me. I can't resist them. I walk. And find a place to camp with thousands of stars. In the middle of a corn field.

I always try to avoid the big "W"s. The Who and What for and Where and the biggest one of all, Why? But Robert van Heumen asked me why creativity and walking go together so well. He asked me to focus on the solitary and simple act of walking on a day that will be or might already be in the history books as one of the most disastrous days in history. And I had planned to walk, to travel by train yesterday and walk in the mountains today. But there was a strike and today there are delays and I spend most of the day walking in a city while waiting for the next connection, not having any creative thoughts, mainly thinking about my next steps, my next days, how to change my plans for today, how to still walk solitary and in silence, trying to do that in this big city but failing ..........

But in the evening there is nothing I have to worry about. My house is on my back, my feet move and nothing can go wrong. Before I end up in the corn field under the thousands of stars I think a thousand thoughts. So much has been said about this subject, so many people I could quote. I think Walser, I think Auster, I think Herzog, I think Benjamin, I think Thoreau. I move through different worlds, putting one foot in front of the other.

When I sit still, at home, it works in a similar way. But the thoughts pile up, there is chaos. And when there is nothing, when the thoughts don't flow, there is panic. Distraction is needed to fill the gap.
When walking there is always the walking. And the walking brings you back to the thinking. There is room for everything. For nothing.

It is said standing upright and starting to walk gave us a bigger brain, the walking made us human.

And something else. Something I am very aware of while doing this, being in the middle of the walking: reality often goes beyond your wildest imagination. When you move through it, things happen, things fall in place. Or get disrupted and everything moves upside down so you see it from a different perspective. When you just walk and keep your eyes open, you will see things, hear things, encounter things you would have never thought of. Or thought of at your table at home and considered too far out to put on paper.

Things change though when you are on the road for a long time. You get lost in the walking. The walking takes you, draws you in. You want to just walk and be in the walking. Other things start to matter less. Or maybe it is just your perception of time that changes. In the beginning every day is a single day, they are like beads on a necklace, they all ask for a seperate story. But at some point it becomes just one single walk. And the walk becomes your life.

I remembered a haiku Dee Heddon wrote a year ago:

step step step step step
step step step step step step step
step step step step step

And this makes me think of a quote by Brandon laBelle:

 "to step is to dream"

I never considered myself a dreamer, I always considered myself a realist. But maybe it can be the same thing.

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