Friday, February 19, 2016

A Vital Process

In The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, author Kathryn Aalto takes us through Ashdown Forest, past Poohsticks Bridge and to the top of Gills Lap, with its panoramic view of England's South Downs.

These are real places — but they are also places of the imagination, where A.A. Milne traveled with his real-life little boy, Christopher Robin, and perhaps saw peeking from the trees there a chubby bear and a winsome piglet.

Like many writers, Milne was a walker. And Aalto's words describing that here could double as a mission statement for A Walker in the Suburbs.
A lifelong joy and habit for the author, walking sets the mind adrift, clarifying and organizing thoughts — a vital process for writers. Walking allows a pace for discovering small, new things: how gorse has the faint smell of coconut in spring, that the red dragonflies hovering over bogs are actually rare, and that the nocturnal bird calls are from the threatened nightjar.
Sets the mind adrift ... clarifies and organizes thoughts ... allows a pace for discovering small, new things ...  Yes, yes and yes.

A vital process? Vital, indeed.

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