Walking the talk
After my post about conversations I had the uncanny experience of having a physcal equivalent of "talking to yourself but better".
I've tended to stay clear of large groups of walkers in the past. My walking in the lowland countryside round where I live has been mostly on my own and trips to mountains have been with my wife or one or two friends. But today I went out with a walking club for the first time. But this wasn't an ordinary walking club.
The Time Out Saturday Walking Club is a very clever system set up by Nicholas Abery, the originator of the Global Ideas Bank. There are 52 walks in the "system", one for every Saturday in the year and all within an hour or so of London. There is then a published timetable for the start of each walk (based on trains out of London) and a description of the walk. This means that anyone with the book can just turn up at the right place and time and expect to meet a group of possibly complete strangers with whom to spend the day walking.
The weather was very foggy and the usual pleasures of looking at the countryside we walked through obviously much dimished. But the real pleasure of the walk, and the point at last of this post, was the conversations.
Walking seems to induce people to have more philosphical conversations than you might sitting across a table or in a room. Perhaps it is the fact that you tend to walk side by side rather than facing each other and there is a sensation of talking to someone else but not quite. There is also something about the rhythms of walking which induce a mellow, almost trance like state which helps the brain to relax and chuck ideas around with less of the usual limiting scripts getting in the way. It is also interesting the way stops and starts at fences or styles tend to make it easy to pick up with another person as you move on, another conversation, another thread.
Taking part in these sometimes intimate, sometimes philosophical and always interesting conversations with people who I had never met and would probably never meet again in the very surreal foggy circumstances reminded me of the point I was trying to make in the last post. With the desire to converse and share, the connections to make it happen and the stimulation of interesting company walking too can be like talking to yourself but better!