Best route downtown

Because of the rotary construction that’s detouring traffic in and out of downtown Keene, I’ve had to re-route my usual walk to and from campus. You might say construction interruptions are forcing me to step out of my own rut.

Sidewalk closed

It’s easy to fall into the familiar: one of the things that makes ritual a sacred thing is the monotonous regularity of it. Meditation relies upon the boring repetition of breathing in and out to clear one’s head of extraneous thinking, and walking is nearly as monotonous: left foot, right foot, repeat.

Dump truck

When you’re walking the dog or walking to work, you aren’t necessarily looking for something new and exciting: like meditation, the mundane tasks of “to and fro” often happen on auto-pilot, your mind and body being trained to follow the familiar routine. But at what point does ritual regularity become a mindless rut you need to pull yourself from?

Jeep

After living at Walden Pond for two years, Thoreau claimed he’d already beaten a path from his cabin to the water’s edge: time to move on. And yet, Thoreau’s statement to this effect in Walden wasn’t the whole truth. Part of the reason Thoreau quit his cabin had to do with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s comings and goings: as Emerson’s literary rambles took him further afield, he asked Thoreau to see to chores around the Emerson household. Are Emerson’s travels or Thoreau’s chores reason enough to leave Walden behind?

Wrong way

Sometimes life interferes with our best laid plans. Looking back at three years of blog-walking, maybe I have traveled the same paths too much and too monotonously. Although it’s not yet time to move on, signs suggest I should move differently, exploring hitherto neglected ways in a search for something not only ordinary, but new.