Today I’ll present my first talk about my epic hikes. I was requested by a resident at The Wellington Senior Living in Saint Paul. My big fan over there must know me from the radio as she – and the director who hired me – are most interested in the intersection of music with walking, particularly composers who found their creative spirit enlivened by nature and the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.
As I pulled together photos and thought of which stories and experiences resonate best with particular pieces of music, I realized that my walking pace is more of a saunter than anything resembling hiking. In musical parlance, the tempo would be marked andante.
Let’s face it, I’m slow. Steady, but slow. Surprise, surprise, folks, I’m no spring chicken. The great nature writer and environmental activist Edward Abbey is in agreement with my philosophy, writing, “Life is already too short to waste on speed.” I agree and feel that sauntering, rather than conquering, affords me the time I require to study and really delve into the essence of everything I encounter.
Or maybe it’s just an excuse for the inevitable midlife downshifting into low gear.
I’m not all “solo hiker” though when it comes to the rhythm of my days. Bach, Britten, Tchaikovsky, Mahler and a whole raft of creatives animated my walking in multiple tempi and moods, but only in my head – or sung loudly by my voice.
I take pride in sauntering without headphones and never out of the bounds of daylight. Quirky, rigid, rule-based, you might ask? True, but the library in my mind’s ear is full and I was never, ever bored.