If you want to know the truth, I think my best walks aren’t so much hiking as just wandering around the woods looking at stuff. As adults we always think there has to be a goal, an agenda. I say it doesn’t have to be that way. A walk doesn’t require purpose or justification outside of itself. Just walking is enough.
Do yourself a favor and give yourself freedom to explore like a child. See if you can walk like a tightrope walker down a log without falling off. Stop and look at little things along the way. A feather, a walnut, a spider web, a cushion of moss — all are objects of wonder when viewed with childlike curiosity.
Rachel Carson called this our “sense of wonder,” and she lamented that most of us lose it as we approach adulthood. We don’t have to let that happen, though. I don’t think our sense of wonder ever dies entirely, even among the most adult and citified among us. I also believe our sense of wonder can be rekindled from smallest ember. We just have to slow down enough to really see.
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” — Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1965.
The pictures below are from some wandering around looking at stuff I did on Sunday. As you can see, it was nothing spectacular, but it was enough.