I am currently smitten by Henry David Thoreau, so much so that I am on the brink of fangirling over a man who lived two centuries ago. I know, it sounds pathetic.
I was reading his essay, Walking, moments ago. He talked about the art of Walking and how only a few completely understood it. Thoreau refers to taking walks – sauntering. Not the kind that one does for the sake of exercise, like a sick taking medicines. It is not also meant as walking for an errand, for which he refers to as tours instead of expeditions.
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is only commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all the wordly engagements.
I think, walking for him is as essential as breathing. He even believes that mechanics and shopkeepers of yore, cooped inside their shops all day long, deserve some credit for not committing suicide.
I can’t help but feel guilty. My job requires me to sit in front of a monitor for eight hours for five straight days every week. It does not sound tiring. I’m away from the tropical sun, burning brain cells instead of sweat. I only walk a few meters to the jeepney stop and a couple more to reach the house I’m staying in. It was a boring routine.
I envy Thoreau. He got to live in an era where modernisation did not yet eat up a great part of nature. A time when nature lay supreme over skyscrapers and fancy parks and winding roads. It would have been amazing to go out of the house and explore the woods and the world beyond, to cease being a part of the “civilized society” and to blend in with nature instead. I could do that back home, where we have plains and hills and a river that meanders far into the next town. I live in a city now where I only get to see bulidings and constructions sprouting from an empty lot every few months. I’m still thankful though, because in this particular city, you only need to take a few minutes to experience the mountain or the sea. The only problem is that, even those places were not spared from commercializations. The sea smells awful. You have to pay a lot to enjoy a breath of fresh air.
The last time I walked many miles and escaped the polluted city, we had a group camping at Cebu’s highest peak, Osmeña Peak. It was named after President Sergio Osmeña who used to go horseback riding in those ranges.
I forgot how many miles we traversed, but I was out of breath by the time we reached the camping site. The walking took more than two hours.
I found these interesting sights along the way though:
I can say the exhausting trek was all worth it, especially when you get here:
I wish I could do that every month. But getting there takes a very long bus ride, a scary ride up the mountainous town and a very lengthy trek.
Thoreau and the people of long ago were so lucky to easily access nature. And the man did get to improve his opportunities of walking and savoring true freedom, before the evil days of privatisation and modernisation came.
PS All photos are not mine. Credit goes to Kuya Rommel. @Rommel Bigno