Walking ~ a Simple Pleasure

The Body’s Natural Wisdom

Do you dance? This is a question which many of us may shy away from answering in the affirmative, since our assumption may be that DANCE is quite an exclusive activity, suited for the talented, the professional; there are acceptable standards; cultural forms to preserve and practice. Then there is wild, ecstatic dance, with or without aid of “substances”. Freestyle? Isn’t it much easier to say that we do not “dance”? Many find themselves in that place.

Have you ever considered that walking may be the simplest form of dance we human do? When we were first learning to walk (we might imagine now), each unsteady step we took must have been a great adventure, a great physical challenge. Standing tall, independent, free of any support of holding on, the repeated motions of making one step and then another built a kind of symmetry. 1-2; left right or right left. When we accomplished three consecutive steps, how did that feel? This was a new pattern, a triangulation of a sort. Left-right-left, or right-left-right. A waltz dance! Whether we were walking in 1-2, or 1-2-3, we must have had the satisfaction of joining function of locomotion (of getting somewhere) with a kind of aesthetic, deep experience of music-making with our feet. Drumming, perhaps, on the skin of the earth (or the kitchen floor)?

An accident I had in the summer of 2011—where I broke my left heelbone and had to get around on crutches for five months afterward—has given me a great appreciation for the simplicity of walking. I really had to relearn. How? I must say that the wisdom of my body taught me how to dance again, in simple walking. I now enjoy walking, like no other pleasure; it’s the light swing of it. In 2 step or 3.

These early winter days, before snow and ice have made my step unsure, the greatest thrill seems in the three-step, times 2. That is, in the six-step walking pattern. It’s a balanced kind of movement, a fully rounded-out waltz step with alternate feet leading….on the 1 and then the 4. It’s a…1-2-3-4-5-6. No need to count it really. I just relax into the rocking feeling and soon I’m jogging gently, to my amazement–even picking up the pace; despite my tell-tale, hobble limp.

These days the song of SIX keeps great company, helping me sing myself into a new and familiar tune. A happy wholeness in walking. Most natural and wise, and human.

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