I use walks to make claims on things. These claims are silent and hospitable–they take without taking away. They claim in a manner that allows many claimants and no disputes. They claim in the same way that we claim a sunset, or an impressive monument, or any other large or small delight in the landscape we sweep our eyes across, that we pull into our memory of the moment we saw it. And our map of where we’ve been and what made it delightful or perplexing or thought-provoking.
When the approach to life in 2020 became, find a way to be, but be apart while you do it, I think many of us turned to walking to safely push out the borders of our at-home lives. I did, with a magnified sense of significance.
I have always preferred walking to other types of recreation. It is the form of exercise that makes sense to my composition, not only muscular but mental. For me, the cadence of walking and thinking is the same. I have written so many things while on a walk. I have resolved so many questions.
And I have made so many claims. Wound so many invisible threads through my neighborhood and pushed out the borders of what feels like home into the blocks beyond my block, others’ spaces becoming my space too in the way experience and observation gives us something as our own without moving it. Through my noticing the sign in the lawn, or the dog in the window, or the broken piece of sidewalk, or the furniture on the porch. Through my unspoken thanks to the people I can’t see but are there beyond all the artifacts. Keeping the world feeling lived in, even while we take turns in its spaces.
Today’s prompt: Write about the places or spaces where you spent your 2020.