Re-Thinking Walking International Style

donovanel - Copygirls walking sacramento/donovanel

I’ve been intrigued and enlightened by many of the Re-Thinking Walking Posts at Flip Flopping Joy. They have inspired many different blogs to do nature and walking posts as well. These posts all have celebration and introspection at the center and are mostly localized reflections. Now the discussion has gone both global and rural with a two-part, joint effort, from Words Without Borders and Orion Magazine. Their posts include general reflections on nature, architecture, and its meaning to the communities in which the essays are based, and also specific reflections on walking and nature. While they lack the specific feminist focus of much of the BFP & Jess authored or inspired posts, and are translated a little too literally in ways that wraps description of women and the poor in a bluntness likely missing from the original texts, they add another element worth thinking about.:

In keeping with this blog’s determination to interrogate the politics of publishing, I must point out that Orion Magazine, unlike Words Without Borders, has no people of color (including woc) on their editorial board but do have roughly a 50-50 split of white women and men; and they have only one woman on the society’s leadership board. This reflects back on ongoing discussions about nature and who is centered in narratives about it both at BFP’s and Vegans of Color, and a larger discussion about the progressive imaginary here at my blog.

One of the things I have found most thoughtful about the larger Rethinking Walking Posts at BFP’s is that the authors took time out to think about representing difference, not about “diversity” but rather how they represented their own intersecting identities in their writing and what it meant for opening or closing discussion for other ppl reading and also considering their relationship to nature. In so doing, they opened the door for multiple and competing expressions of ability and walking, location and its meaning to connecting with the body and nature, etc.

My hope in linking to these other sites of discussion is to expand the way we think about nature into a global discussion, one that further grounds concepts of place, and perhaps inspires all of the feminist voices already participating in BFP and Jess’ series (Tangland has some great ones) to revisit and expand, as I have.


6 thoughts on “Re-Thinking Walking International Style

  1. oh, thanks so much for pointing to these other sites–I don’t follow/read any of the mentioned publishers, so it will be really interesting to see/read/reflect.

    • If you can imagine the stories in the lyricism of their original languages, I think you’ll find richness in them; otherwise, you might not be as excited. I thought it was nice to think abt walking outside of our local spaces.

  2. My mistake was to click on the first WWB link, thinking I’ll do a quick scan before going to sleep. So I’m still up, an hour later 🙂

    I haven’t quite grasped why I feel different when I’m in nature, so I appreciate how you put in words what I could only barely sense. I think one reason I keep going back outside is because maybe I’ll understand more. (Does that make sense at all?) Can’t wait to run tomorrow morning, while reflecting on these words. Salamat for sharing.

    • I hear you. I have always been more effected by my surroundings than others and the difference between hyper-urban spaces and natural spaces and/or urbanity that is designed to honor or come together with nature. There’s some interesting research on “creating space” and how architecture married to districting has created spaces to literally fence in marginalized populations. Reclaiming our connections to nature is actually a socio-political act with this most profound potential for healing.

      I look forward to reading your new posts on walking. And I love your pics. 🙂

  3. I’ve read a couple of them so far, on the orion mag–and not too impressed, although there was some really promising stuff, I think. If I were an editor or somebody reading over the essays i’ve read so far, I’d ask them: why aren’t you pushing yourself harder here? Why are you placing the burden of “recovery” on the environment and the process of walking? Why can’t we ever admit that some times, walking is a site of mourning and pain, rather than a place where horrible trauma is suddenly ok (ala, the espedal essay)?

    It will be interesting, I think, to keep reading–and see if this is a common experience throughout their story telling…

    • I haven’t actually read the Orion ones yet. I only included the link b/c the two journals are publishing jointly. I’ll admit I was put off by the lack of diversity in their editorial and organizing board and how it disconnects from their stated mission of working toward a better world, so I haven’t made it a priority.

      I’m off to read them now, and then maybe we can compare notes. Or at least I’ll have a better sense of what you’re reacting to.

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