Taking a Preposition for a Walk I: ‘Walking to …’

The Subtle Tones of Driftwood

Twentieth century artist Paul Klee is attributed with having described drawing as ‘taking a line for a walk’.

I’ve been pondering what motivates people to walk (beyond the obvious:  ‘to get from A to B’) and ended up messing around with prepositions that qualify the word ‘walking’.  Here’s what happened when I investigated ‘Walking to …’.

The expression suggests to me ‘function’, ‘the mundane’, ‘routine practicality’. ‘Walking to’ doesn’t seem to suggest anything dramatic. An Internet search using just the words ‘walking to’ however, uncovered a vast diversity of ‘walking to’ activities that are about empowering and changing bad for good.

One of the purposes of the Walk to School initiative is to introduce or re-accustom children to physical activity, as a means of bringing about greater concentration and better health.

At the Walking Works web site I found the ‘Walk to Work’ week initiative (this year it’s 9-13 May 2011).

Then I came across ‘Walking to the Sky’ about a public sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky. It depicts a little girl, a businesswoman, a young man and several others scaling a 100 foot stainless steel pole. The artist was inspired by a story told to him when a child by his father explains that the sculpture is “… a celebration of the human potential for discovering who we are and where we need to go”.

Walkit.com is about urban walking and includes a handy ‘urban walking route planner’, which includes not only a route map between any two points but the journey time, a calorie burn, step count and carbon saving.  “Quick, free, healthy and green” sums up the motivation behind this type of ‘walking to’ activity.

I was particularly drawn to the site http://www.flyintheface.com.  I found the story there of  how its author Fran Crowe was driven to the personal challenge of ‘saving’ one square mile of ocean by collecting 46,000 pieces of litter whilst walking on nearby beaches.  This was after reading a United Nations report that concluded: humankind’s exploitation of the deep seas and oceans is “… rapidly passing the point of no return”. The report found that on average, the amount of rubbish per square mile of ocean worldwide is leading to the death of over one million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals every year due to entanglement or swallowing.  There is a floating piece of plastic in the Southern Pacific the size of Texas.

Shocked, it inspired Fran to set about collecting 46,000 pieces of litter whilst walking on the beaches near her home. At each visit, she picked up all the litter she could carry and whilst walking raised nearly £1,000 for the Marine Conservation Society through sponsorship and sale of her unique seaside ‘souvenirs’. She urges us to do our bit to help by taking part in local river or beach clean-ups, such as Beachwatch.

‘Walking to’ may sound ‘everyday’ but the ways in which people interpret the expression certainly isn’t and Fran’s personal initiative has inspired me to find ways of ‘walking to’ with purpose.

Where do you walk to with purpose?


Find books on ‘Walking to …’ at www.annisik.com


About AnnIsikArts

This entry was posted in Art, Ecology, Trash Art, Walking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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