In this week’s class, we spent about an hour discussing different types of “walking” in class before heading outside to the Arboretum where we would do our own “walk” for about an hour and a half. However, this wasn’t any normal type of walk: it was a silent walk. Led by an intern at Guelph’s Arboretum, we trekked through the forest in complete silence, not making a sound even when we tripped repeatedly over stubborn tree roots.
In a line, we followed our guide through the woods, open spaces and gardens. We walked by just beautiful scenery, including a couple buildings we were unfamiliar to and even a memorial garden. There was even a patch of unknown (well, to me) mushrooms thriving at one point in our trip. Our senses got to experience a wide spectrum of colour, shape and sound: I personally enjoyed the different hues of yellow and orange above us, how the sun glittered through the trees, and the strong, earthy smell of the leaves and dirt that just reminded me of autumn.
I especially appreciated the sound of the wind that filtered through the treetops (I initially thought it was a river) and, of course, the sounds that were produced as our boots burst through heaps of unattended, dry leaves on the ground. (Turn volume up!)
Dogs, moms, babies and joggers walked past, squeezing by on the well-trodden boardwalk, but for the major part of the trip we were alone–except for the classmates in front and behind of us. In the silence, I believe many of us were just sort of floating in our thoughts, which was certainly an interesting place to be.
After the hour and a half silent walk (or workout, whichever you’d like to call it), we sat down on the leafy grounds in a circle to discuss yet some more about what had just transpired. For myself, I was quite calm and peaceful after that walk, and definitely I’ll be trying it again sometime. Perhaps the walk had inspired some ideas for us about the future Kilometre Project, and changed our perspectives on the art of walking.