Taking time to Figure Things Out – A morning walk

I found this discussion interesting by Robert Glenn, a painter, writer. So, I thought I would pass it to others.


A morning walk-

Even though we are back on Standard time, the mornings are still dark. I enter the studio at six, open the email and give yesterday’s paintings the casual glance that tells what the previous evening could not. Stepping out into the mist with Dorothy, we catch sight of hurrying raccoons–two adults and two young-of-the-year–silhouetted for a moment by the last electric light before the forest.

Fog is snagged like Halloween on the high cedars and firs, their tops disappearing above. Below, the familiar path winds darkly through the cathedral, the forest floor musky as truffles and wet with dew and the eyes of autumn spiders. A Winter wren notes her privacy from a snowberry bush. Somewhere up ahead a Barred owl calls and a nearer one, perhaps an errant mate, calls back, overlapping in a higher, more ladylike return. Then I’m wondering if it’s the female owl whose voice is deeper.

This morning we have no flashlight or camera or brush–it’s a time of thought and feeling, a time for the day’s plans to unfurl. Dorothy runs doggedly off leash, her map of odours confirmed by her superior nose–she needs no light to travel. Perhaps this will be the best of her day. Maybe mine, too.

It seems our brains don’t do their best when pressed into service or called upon to produce. Walking, resting, even lathering shampoo are apparently the better times for thinking, especially thinking ahead. Recent research confirms that the best thinking happens when we’re mildly engaged in something else. Something pleasant, routine, distracting. In the institution of the time-honoured walk, the best ideas are issued in the second half. Feet wander. The mind does, too.

We return via the busy roadway where commuters are now releasing themselves to the far away city. Their hands are on Starbucks, their ears on traffic reports or the hands-free for their stockbrokers. As dawn truly breaks, engines hum their thinking mantras toward the highways of commerce.

Dorothy and I are dawdling. According to top psychologists, as well as Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost and William Wordsworth, taking time for a walk figures things out and adds joy and efficiency to the day ahead.

Best regards,


PS: “Spontaneous, wandering thought is now viewed by brain scientists as a critical aspect of healthy functioning.” (Mark Fenske, co-author of The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success)


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