“If you are a free man, then you are ready for a walk”
These words were written by Henry David Thoreau, who left his home of Concord, Massachusetts, in July of 1845 to live alone in a hut on Walden Pond. He stayed there for a bit more than two years, and this experience became the basis for his most famous book entitled Walden, or Life in the Woods. The importance of returning to nature — far from a society focused only on what serves market needs — can be seen in the author’s words. In his search for simplicity, he gets in touch with the heart of what is truly necessary for us as human beings.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.” A few years after his death, thanks to his words and his focus on the environment, the first protected areas in the world were established. In the book, The Main Woods, he introduced the concept of nature conservation via legal means for the first time because “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”
John Muir, a traveller, explorer, and environmental philosopher, was as important as Thoreau in educating people on protecting the land. He travelled far and wide around the United States, writing about the beauty of Mother Nature. His notes became a book and, thanks to his work, in 1890, the first national park — Yosemite — was created.
Thanks to men like these who fought to conserve the beauty of nature, today, we can walk through protected areas on safe paths, hiking through woods, mountains, and valleys. Today, walking in nature is much easier, and there are no longer the hardships of going from one place to another like in the past.
Yet, despite this, the thought of the effort required makes many not want to even begin to do this on a regular basis.
Make your walks an art. Crossing a forest on foot allows you to return to nature, freeing your mind from any worries you may have. Spending time among the trees, as they watch you silently, cleanses your soul of all impurities.
Beyond just the well-known benefits to your body of taking part in physical activity, we can also enjoy these revitalizing effects for the mind and spirit. Focusing on silence, concentrating on listening to the environment and your own breath can help the mood and have a natural beneficial effect on the nervous system. Walking outdoors is healthy aerobic activity, a wonderful natural antidepressant, and it is something that will help you sleep better.
The art of walking has much deeper, ancestral, and introspective significance than what many people know. That sense of freedom that many seek, believing it impossible to attain, is much closer than what you really imagine. Immersing yourself in nature, allowing it to envelop you in its scents, encountering the “children” of Mother Nature is a way to get back in touch with the world and yourself… for the mind, body, and spirit.
Thanks to: Montagne Selvagge