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Branchport - Modeste Bedient Memorial Library 1 B GARDNER Adult NonFiction Book
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Summary

Summary

I collect lakes.

I have for years.

I can't bring a lake home,

like a butterly or baseball card

and put it in a display case or album.

So, I walk around each lake in one fell

swoop.

This way I can best capture and form an uninterrupted connection

with the spirit of the water, the land, the people, and my inner self.


Learning to Walk is a refreshingly original approach to the memoir. The author keeps a journal while walking, reflecting insightfully on both the present and the past. In the present he walks as far as seventy-eight miles in three days around Seneca Lake, and as little as one lap around the local reservoir. The intoxicating rhythm of walking leads to inner exploration and reflection. Whatever the external or internal distance covered, the author treats all with a singular respect and unassuming sensitivity. It may be present-day delights such as watching the aerial acrobatics of a red-tailed hawk, the satisfaction of covering thirty-nine miles in one day, or the confusion of a delinquent boyhood and struggling in boot camp.The author exemplifies the TS Eliot quote: "We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." In Richard Shade Gardner's walking and journaling, the "place" is physical and conceptual.Gardner has a finely-tuned finesse with episodic storytelling and dialogue, recounting observations and describing characters he meets. The book's 125 vignettes flow from present-to-past and back, keeping the reader in constant motion, much the same as a good long walk, and result in a book that is almost impossible to put down.


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