Saturday, March 5, 2016

Contemplative Walking

               Red-tailed Hunter.

Cleveland Contemplative Walkers ~ the mutual brainchild of two friends, both of us spiritual directors, both of us people who like to get outside and walk.  I’m not sure how we came up with the idea, other than it having emerged from a more general conversation one day, morphing into a Facebook page and group, and becoming a real live walk this morning.
Four of us showed up, all with a variety of church connections and relationships (although neither was a requirement!).  It was cold, around 30 degrees, and cloudy, with a few slow-falling snowflakes, but we had a lovely time.  I’m not sure how contemplative we were ~ we kept breaking into pairs to talk ~ but our surroundings were utterly still and gray and peace-filled.
We ~ or at least I ~ tried to infuse the walk with a bit of “program,” inviting people to discuss what they remember of past great walks.  One woman talked about the astonishing beauty of Zion National Park.  Another, who is British, talked about a college geology walk ‘round the canals of Birmingham, England, which are longer in mileage than the canals of Venice.  And I mentioned a hunger walk made during my senior year of high school.  Seventeen-year-olds can hop out of bed in the morning and decide to walk 20 miles! ~ although the immediate consequence was that my big toenails turned black and fell off.
Augustine offered that “it is solved by walking.”  We did not solve any world or national problems this morning.  But we did make some inroads into friendship, which might be the most effective solution of all.

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