The words we use affect the way we feel, the way we behave and the way we experience life. We live into the words which we put to the concepts floating round our heads. As a literary geek, I absolutely love a thesaurus. In this article I take a look at the different synonyms for the word ‘walk’ and decide that we words we choose really do matter.
“When I go for a walk it’s just a walk. But for you it’s more than that, isn’t it?” said my mum recently. Well, no, not really. It’s still just a walk. But I think there’s a lot to a walk; the name given to the physical mechanics of it being by far the least interesting part. The movement of walking largely takes care of itself, becoming, literally, a vehicle for everything else that that easy, natural, silent self-propelled locomotion facilitates: thinking, talking, humming, noticing, breathing, gazing, reflecting, meditating and … doing nothing. Doing the thing that defines us as human beings is an excellent means for us to stop doing and enjoy just being human.
Mankind has always walked and talked; it’s what separates us from other mammals. And I expect since our earliest days we have found the spaciousness of a long walk, and the ease of a side-by-side movement conducive to a certain kind of talk. Out on our walk, under the open skies, falling into step with our companion, grateful for the view which releases us of the necessity of eye contact, we might well take a deep breath and start to speak of what is really going on for us. And when we do so, in the English language, chances are we’ll use metaphor.