I am happiest while hiking, moving one foot after another, carrying only a bottle of water, a bag of snacks, notebook and pen, slicker in case of bad weather and a few bucks in case I stumble across a cafe. Walking slows the world down and opens me to all that surrounds me, moss and wind, muck and meadow. Walking is a meditative, simplifying act, exhausting, discovering, deeply satisfying.
This is strange given that I spend probably 350 days a year not hiking. At best, I walk within the limits of practical considerations — time, distance and all I have to do. There are chores and visits, causes and obligations. Too often I walk on the treadmill at the YMCA, walking a virtual path through the Canadian Rockies that does not smell of pine.
But walking nourishes me as writing does — allowing me to look more deeply at life and wonder at what I see. Since retiring as a journalist and nonprofit director two years ago, I’ve been working to find my groove as a fiction writer, often caught in the net of self-criticism and reluctant to release my work to the world. With this blog, I hope to develop the practice of writing as I walk — with faithfulness, openness and trust in the world.