Meet Libby. For nearly a decade, we worked for the same advertising agency. For nearly another decade, we worked across the street from each other. She specializing in pictures, me in words. Pals for a long time, she jumps out of airplanes while I keep my feet firmly on the ground. But we share a common path when it comes to the love of walking.
Somewhere between Cheryl Strayed and Thich Nhat Hanh stands Libby, the wonder witch of Plum Island. Six feet tall and full of grace, she’s been walking every single day for nearly a decade – in all kinds of weather. It’s true. I’ve witnessed it…scrolling her Instagram account from under the covers of my warm bed or drinking tea in my kitchen. Sometimes I have the urge to jump in my car and go pick her up. But that would be missing the point. It’s the wind, rain, and cold her spirit longs for. She stands up to the weather and dares it to spit in her face, only for it to yield to her – a baptism of wild and tame, captured in her debut book, Do/Walk.
Suspended between coming and going, walking is where the journey never ends. It asks the perpetual question, “What’s beyond the bend?” and encourages us to be open to any possibility. Take a look at my photo from the Newburyport Rail Trail. I've walked it countless times, but I always pause in this one spot wondering, "What's around the bend?" The continuation of the path, you might say. But to a storyteller, the possibilities are endless. A giant Blue Heron could grab me in its talons and fly away. Wood nymphs might enchant me. Or there could be pirates. Most definitely, pirates.
Like meditation, Libby's "MorningWalk" is a daily practice. Yet, it involves the act of moving, not stillness, and as Libby writes, "Movement prevents the challenging times from getting stuck..."
This particular notion of challenging times resonated with me. Libby encourages us to record when the daily walk is far from fun. Maybe it’s the soaking New England spring rain or the blister starting to scream under the sock that keeps slipping under your heel. Or maybe you become distracted by all the shit in your life, and you trip over your toes, landing with a middle-aged thud that has you limping the rest of the way home. It is during these challenging walks that, as Libby puts it, “Endorphins explode.” Shit thoughts are expelled. Clarity and peace ensue. Solvitur ambulando – Latin for “It is solved by walking.”
In Do/Walk, Libby outlines the process of starting this daily practice for ourselves, the benefits of walking, and reflections from famous figures – decorated with her journal entries, self-deprecating humor, and her breathtaking photography.
Read this book. Give this book. Live this book. Watch out for pirates.
Do/Walk is available for pre-order now from Do Books Co.
Follow Libby at @parkhere