I kept coming back to this route for respite from my work and for my work too, because thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking. Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, to breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing. It is a bodily labor that produces nothing but thoughts, experiences, arrivals.
From Rebecca Solnit on a Childhood of Reading and Wandering
Rebecca Solnit is a prolific writer from the Bay Area of California. Most of her works are short essays on modern life and culture. She is a philosopher without a specific school. One of my favorite works of her's is A Fieldguide to Getting Lost
Edgar Allan Poe declared, “All experience, in matters of philosophical discovery, teaches us that, in such discovery, it is the unforeseen upon which we must calculate most largely.” Poe is consciously juxtaposing the word “calculate,” which implies a cold counting up of the facts or measurements, with “the unforeseen,” that which cannot be measured or counted, only anticipated. How do you calculate upon the unforeseen? It seems to be an art of recognizing the role of the unforeseen, of keeping your balance amid surprises, of collaborating with chance, of recognizing that there are some essential mysteries in the world and thereby a limit to calculation, to plan, to control. To calculate on the unforeseen is perhaps exactly the paradoxical operation that life most requires of us.
From A Fieldguide To Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit