Geography & Wonder

Pints at the Star Inn

There is the geography we know and can trace topographically, made up of distance and terrain and movement. For instance, knowing it is about 14 miles (22 km) to the next town, there is a mountain in the way, and  a pub and a pint await us there. But there’s another geography as well, one that exists off the maps even though it overlaps them, a geography of uncertainty, of bodily ache, of imagination and story and solitude, and sometimes, if we’re fortunate, of wonder.

Since the Romantic era at least, wonder is the most gratifying of reactions to a view, natural or human. The walker cannot plan on wonder. But there are ways in which we open ourselves up to it and make ourselves available. In my experience those ways start with being silent, and with not over-planning a walk. That’s the way I felt when I woke up in Hayfield, in England’s Peaks District, the morning of the Kinder Trespass hike. Ready, but not completely prepared.

New Mills Central Train Station

9 thoughts on “Geography & Wonder

  1. Loved this post. makes me want to walk across England….soon.
    meanwhile…looking forward to the upcoming walk in Saskatchewan in August.
    wish you were here for my performance at the Lyric for the Chatauqua, Mother’s Apron.
    7 monologues, 23 skies by James R. Page, two new songs, 4 ditties and many quotes about the coin that bears two faces: fear & wonder. I designed a chapbook to go with the show. I’ll save one for you. BTW…in 1995 when I moved across Canada in a car with an overheating engine and a trunk and back seat loaded with books, I found myself listening to a special Tapestry presentation from a conference called: “The Geography of Wonder”. It helped me get through the long sits on embankments along the TransCan waiting for my car to cool!

    • Wish I could see your Chatauqua show as well, Madonna. I’ll have to ask Hugh about it! Are there any videos of Mother’s Apron? If so, would love to see one in August on the Frenchman’s.

  2. As John Lennon famously said, “the best things in live are free, but you can keep it to the birds and bees.” True, but there’s a balance to be made and I think walking is the greatest compliment to working and making money.

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