Friday, October 23, 2009

Marching to Pretoria: Going on a Walk, Part I

When I was a kid, my family did a lot of singing in our 1949 GMC Carry All truck. One of my favorite songs declared, "We are marching to Pretoria, Pretoria, Pretoria...". I never realized where Pretoria was until we started boycotting South Africa because of apartheid. But when Harcourt wanted to do a translation of my book, Tom Thumb, into Afrikaans, I thought it a bad idea to boycott book making. So, I said, "Sure, do it; but also do a version of it in a tribal language." And they did also print a version in Xhosa. Cool.

All my life, however, I have imagined Pretoria to be a state of mind where good things greet you on a journey. So this evening we went on a walk to feed our friend's cat. A one hour walk can cure what ails you.

Plus, you meet pals along the way. I called these two, Chester and Marshal Dillon.

I am willing to wager that if you went on a walk from your front door, and looked about, you would find wonders to behold. Simple lovelies, and spots of beauty.

Furthermore, when you walk, you slow down and feel the earth and time turning. The wind messes with you, and the sky invites you to open up to the now.

Do you speak my language? Hey buddy, can you spare a tuna?

The Pacific Madrona tree (Arbutus Menziesii) is sensual in its beauty.

There are always surprises when you go for a walk, especially if you are marching to Pretoria. Here is a mermaid riding a bike. Haven't you wondered how they ride bikes? I can tell you I have laid awake at night wondering about just that. It's so simple! They swim through the air and hold on to the handlebars. This sculpture is the work of Port Townsend's own, Scott Jaster.

See what's waiting for you? Go for a walk with someone you love. March into the magic.


Amanda said...

Great photos, I agree with you about walking outside your own home and looking at what you can find around you.

steven said...

hi richard - thanks for taking us along on the walk. i know the song's refrain as well although i can't for the life of me figure out why or from where!!! i love the bike sculpture a lot! i bike all the time - it's my only means of transportation - and i come across all sorts of fantasmagorical experiences on two wheels. a mermaid - well i can only dream - but here it is, so thanks!!!! have a sweet day out there. steven

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thanks Amanda. Walks are healing, aren't they?

Steven, I agree that bike riding is the next best thing to walking. It is still a pace that allows reflection and connection to the environs

Anonymous said...

Walking really clears the head - it seems to give the thinking part time to reorganise its thoughts. And it also cures loneliness - watching the birds, talking to the cows (or horses! in your part of the world), nodding and smiling to other travellers. That cat has rather marvellous eyes, and a smile! I hope it liked the tuna.

And that leaf - it was just hangin' around on a cobweb strand. Perhaps there was a spider up in the tree holding on to the other end...

jesse joshua watson said...

number one cure for depression worldwide..... a long walk!

which is why drug companies would NEVER EVER EVER want us to know that the answer to most of life's problems are..... FREE!

jesse joshua watson said...

oh, and, walking is the rhythm of the heartbeat as well. One Two. One Two. One Two. One Two.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

You know, Kitty, you are so right, the mind really does re-organize and re-prioritize itself when we go for a walk. And the sister leaf that we had must have been *allowed* by the spider. But why? They maintain their webs so fastidiously. Maybe they like a dash of color from time to time.

Hey Jesse J., You are so right. Didn't Harrison Ford have a run in with the big pharma-multi-nationals in The Fugitive? I like your rhythm concept. And it is true, a walk is a cure for depression.

MollyMom103 said...

I really need a camera.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Molly, there are some small affordable digital cameras with gobs of mega pixels.