in defense of walking in ignorance (but appreciation) of nature

How much you get from walking will depend, in the last resort, upon yourself, rather than the country.  One mind will get more out of a few fields than another will from a range of mountains.  It is a matter of developing a breadth of interests. …

The ideal walker would, I suppose, have geology and all other -ologies at his fingertips.  He would be steeped in history and literary associations.  He would be able to analyse a cathedral into its constituent parts and tag each with a date and style.  He would talk knowledgeably to the locals about crops and craftsa nd industries.  Such a man (supposing his head did not burst) would cover about one mile in a summer’s day.  I prefer to air my ignorance on the hills and walk twenty, noticing what I can.  But certainly a little knowledge of all or any of these things, far from being dangerous, adds immensely to one’s pleasure.

I always wish I could identify more trees, bushes, clouds, etc., but never have the diligence to consistently invest.  So I will continue to “air my ignorance” and see if I can pick up “a little knowledge” here and there.  I’m in Ithaca, New York, where there are ten thousand waterfalls.  I love this town.

from Walking in England, by Geoffrey Tease, quoted in The Walker’s Companion, by Malcolm Tait, p53.  (I own and loved The Moviegoer’s Companion, from the same series.)

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