Over the last century our species figured out, finally, how to overcome the force of gravity and take to the skies, and even to the great mysterious space beyond our atmosphere. With the internal combustion engine we already had motorized transportation that we measured in horsepower. In the centuries before the last we built chariots, carriages, and trains to move us forward at ever-increasing speeds.
Around 3,500 BC two developments changed the human experience forever: In Mesopotamia the first wheels were used, and in the Eurasian steppes the horse was domesticated. Somewhere between 4 and 5 centuries before that our ancestors figured out how to use balance, flotation, and the currents of water and air to paddle, then sail, our bodies on rivers, lakes, and seas at superhuman speed.
Before that we used our feet.
A normal walking pace is 3 miles per hour. I found that out recently when I re-discovered the joys of walking. And there are distinctive joys in self-propulsion that should not be taken lightly. I see things when I walk that literally fly past me in other modes of transportation.
I am a disciple of the arts, not physical fitness. I search for inspiration and a stronger mind, not a fitter body. But if walking, like yoga or vegetarianism, leads to a healthier body, I’m cool with that.
But that’s not why I walk.
I walk to watch the river move faster than me.