A word about sauntering

Today I begin to saunter, or, more precisely, to record some random ruminations that are the product of my sauntering. The word “sauntering” I take from Thoreau, a delightful word, full of the spirit of what my life seems to be, and I hope I’m not presumptuous in claiming it as self-descriptive.

“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking,” Thoreau wrote in Walden, “that is, of taking walks – who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived ‘from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,’ to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, ‘There goes a Sainte-Terrer,’ a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean.”

“Not all who wander are lost,” Tolkien wrote. Neither are all who saunter mere vagabonds. I hope by sauntering well through life to find myself. And maybe in the end I’ll recognize the Holy Land toward which my pilgrimage has been directed and that has been under my feet all along.

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