The strength of the sole

Jeff, Matt and Drew on an afternoon stroll in Oxford, UK, August 2005.

Jeff, Matt and Drew on an afternoon stroll in Oxford, UK, August 2005.

“When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the sole leather has passed into the fibre of your body.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lately I’ve not been able to walk as much as usual, and when I do walk, I notice there’s a difference to my typical rhythms and behaviors.  I’ve been walking mostly head downward, pacing rapidly, with an eye toward getting through the two or three miles as quickly as possible, not taking in the gorgeous sights and sounds that normally add so much enjoyment to my day.

Partly it’s because I am often rushed and barely squeezing in the time to walk.  I think it’s more than that, though.  I am dealing with a different set of challenges right now than I typically am, or at least a more intense version of the same challenges.  Most days, I’m not as able to focus on the springtime greening all around me, or the flowers finally starting to bloom.

That’s OK for now.  I find that walking is beneficial no matter how I do it.  There’s a lot more introspection to my walks lately, and perhaps some of the mental rehearsal that helps me to work through my worst fears and be prepared for whatever might happen.  Walking is a good match for such rumination, a sort of restless pacing with purpose.

If you’ve been thinking you need to be walking, but can’t seem to find yourself in the mood to begin, try starting from wherever you are.  I have found that it builds strength physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.  Not bad for an activity that is free, safe, green and totally portable.  It might not always be fun, though it often is.  In any case, the benefits will accrue, and as Emerson attests, soon you’ll find yourself feeling refreshed in a way that is inversely proportional to the wear on your shoes.  Your soles won’t be new anymore, but your soul will be.

One year ago on May 11:

You should ramble

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Ron Wood

    Julia, I hope, wish and pray you and Matt have better days ahead for you both.

    • Thank you, Ron. I appreciate your encouragement and presence here.

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