“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about walking.
This is partly because I’ve been walking more and partly because of a recent walking meditation. Nothing like being mindful of every part of lifting your foot, moving it through the air and then setting it down to anchor you in the present moment, but in a very bizarre way. It’s not unlike saying a word over and over and over again. Pretty soon that word starts to sound weird. The same thing happens after a walking meditation. Perhaps that’s why today my feet seemed to be trying to tell me something.
8:40 a.m. I scoot into a meeting a bit late. As I hurry into the building, I distinctly feel the cool air on my ankles, the gravel beneath my feet, the brush of a flower on my calf. The sensations are bright, colorful, textured and alive. My stride is quick and light as I am anxious to get where I am going and am anticipating good things.
1:45 p.m. Another meeting, this time at a local university. As I walk across campus, I have a strange but very real sense memory of walking around Milwaukee years ago as an intern without a car. I regularly walked from my East Side apartment to Downtown and even Marquette. Today, the ground feels like it did then. I feel like I did then. I walk faster than normal, with my head up and focusing on what was ahead of me – both literally and figuratively.
3:15 p.m. I decide to vote before heading home. I park a couple of blocks away from the polling place, and, as I walk, my steps are plodding. The shoes pinch a little. My legs are heavy. Nothing terrible, but distinctly different than the way I had felt only an hour earlier. Apparently exercising my right to vote is not enough to keep the spring in my step.
Same day. Same feet. Same shoes. Wildly different moments.
Photo taken with iPhone via Instagram