The Spirituality of Walking

Emily F. Rowe

I walk a lot—at least an hour daily. I grew up at a time when most of us walked everywhere. When I acquired a car, I walked less. Going to the U.K. in 1966 restored my habit of walking, and I have kept it up ever since. Over the years, I came to discern that walking and related physical activity contributes to my spiritual life.

It can be a time of silence, and silence has its own value. It can also be used for meditation and contemplation. When we walk outside, especially in the “wild,” we can be more in touch with nature—God’s creation. I seem to be more aware, in particular of my body while walking. I walk no matter the weather, unless it is very severe, as I find that facing the elements in all its moods affects my well-being.

When I lived in the U.K. I discovered hiking which was commonplace there. My most ambitious hiking was in the Swiss Alps. When I returned to NL in the 1970s, hiking was catching on here and the government was promoting the upgrading of old trails and the construction of new ones. We have a lot of hiking trails today, and over the years I have used many of them—five to ten kilometres normally. The East Coast Trail comprises 270 kilometres of coastal hiking from Topsail Beach to Cappehayden, and 66 kilometres of community walks. There are also trails in ever so many communities on the Avalon. I have walked trails in Bay Roberts, Heart’s Content, Norman’s Cove, Chance Cove, Arnold’s Cove, Sunnyside, and Chance Cove, all within a 90 minutes’ drive. The most popular trail in NL is Skerwink in Port Rexton/Trinity East.

What I have said about walking can also apply to swimming and skating , skiing and snow-shoeing. When I retired 20 plus years ago, I took up kayaking. I find this another instrument of spirituality.

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