Walking as much as I do, I also notice the way, or style, in which I walk, how it changes and develops, and what I think it reveals about my physical condition and general outlook. These days, several things strike me as significant: first, my posture is much better than it used to be; second, there is a soft, cushioned feeling, a feeling of lightness, where my steps meet the ground; third, I walk hands free and with an open gait, one I might describe as receptive or friendly. And if it’s possible for the whole body to smile, there’s the feeling that mine gratefully does. How I appear to those I meet, and how they respond, is another matter, in as far as it’s influenced by their condition and outlook. For instance, a person with troubles might be more likely to see or assume troubles in others, even where they don’t exist. And a person who’s distrustful might read relaxed body language as a foil or front. Or he might see a friendly unsolicited wave as the sign of a fool. But one thing is sure: the wave won’t hurt him. He can only hurt himself. And what of my reading of others? In this attitude, am I not more likely to see them as extended parts of myself, and to see all of us as cells in a larger body, a body that is its own wise, patient, yet firm physician?
Starlings in the pine trees,
singing while it snows.
A lifetime later, I’m as
white as the fields beyond.
Songs and Letters, December 18, 2008