Sunday, October 11, 2009

Frederic Church, Autumn in North America

This time of year, I can think of few things I enjoy more than going on a long walk on a cool evening, especially if it's not too windy. The leaves are on the edge of their seats, waiting to burst into autumn colors and drift down from tree limbs. Soon, everything will begin to look conspicuously more like winter than summer. It's one of the better things in life to walk with a good friend, perhaps with a pipe in hand, and to have good conversation while taking in the changes of autumn. And Norman is a wonderful town for all of this - old homes and old trees.

I think going on more walks would be a good thing. I wish I had more time to do it. I wish walking were more thought of as a group activity, too. Something to do after dinner, maybe. This also reminds me of what I read in a biography of Wordsworth and Coleridge, how Wordsworth went on a walking tour with a friend the summer before his last year of undergraduate. They went walking across France during the Revolution, stopping in Paris of course, and traveling into the Alps, before walking all the way back through Britain. In all, they traveled about 2,000 miles, most of which was by foot.

People don't do walking tours in this country, though they're still done in Europe, I suppose. That's definitely our loss.

And long walks naturally deserve walking songs. In fact, people generally ought to sing more. What happened to good drinking songs? J.R.R. Tolkien provides many of both in The Lord of the Rings and this is a favorite one of mine, from the first book:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.


katietracy. said...

I would both walk and smoke with you at any time. I feel sure we could find several companions to join us. Perhaps we could revive the walking-tours trend in this country? We surely have nothing to lose.

Kyle said...

I agree. We should make plans to walk.

katietracy. said...

You name the time.

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