Since we spend a lot of our time here in Maine going for walks around the island, both together and separately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the positive effect walking has on my thinking. I do (and have always done) some of my best thinking while walking. I essentially wrote my prelim essays while going for nighttime walks with Paul. I worked out the argument for my HSS paper while going for walks this past week. And whether it’s a walk where I talk out ideas with someone else, or one where I spend the time talking to myself or going over ideas in my head, I always come back with a new thought, ready to write.
There’s been a thread on H-Environment about “Walking as methodology and practice in environmental history,” and someone sent out a link to this really interesting conference website, Walking as Knowing as Making: A Peripatetic Investigation of Place. I love the idea of organizing a workshop around going for walks together. We do some of this at the Center for Culture, History, and Environment on our annual amazing Place-Based Workshops, but because of how far we have to travel and how much we work into a four-day period, we’re always going for fewer walks than we’d probably like. I can imagine how amazing a walking place-based workshop would be.
Since I’m still working on this HSS paper, I don’t have much time to elaborate on everything I’d like to say about walking and thinking, but perhaps I’ll have more to say after my afternoon walk.