One Step At A Time Is Good Walking: Chinese Proverb
When toddlers pull themselves up to stand and take off for the first time, they rely on the impetus of movement, balance, a natural rhythm that carries the body to the right and then the left, shifting weight as it propels itself forward.
When adults try to walk after having one foot shut up in a cast like Rapunzel in her tower, they think they remember the momentum of movement. But the brain foils their efforts. One toe down, next the arch, next the heel and start to shift and place the other down and flat foot and…. It’s so confusing. The liberated foot is tingling with nerves that have been asleep for 6 weeks. The tiny muscles have been incarcerated and have no recollection of forming the interior angles that used to be second nature. There seems to be no padding on the bottom of the foot, as though the cast had rubbed it all off. Now think: Where does the foot fall when you put it down? When do you pick it up? How will you ever figure this out? You are like the centipede who, when asked which of his feet he initiated the process with, was unable to begin.
But you'll get it eventually. What matters is the ecstasy of walking again! Of being bipedal and knowing that you can get from your house to the corner with a measured number of steps. No crutches in your armpits; no unidirectional scooter to lift and rearrange over the cracks in the sidewalk. This is what it means to be homo erectus again!
I have always loved walking. It is a good solitary pursuit and it’s wonderful with a friend or lover. It is good to let off steam and equally good for meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle… is to walk on earth. Everyday we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize…”