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Picturing a World

Getting outdoors

In this troubled time, those of us who live in country towns are lucky to be able to get outdoors safely for exercise or contemplation or, oddly enough, a little sociability. One of my regular walks takes me down a back road where I see neighbors, working in their yards or walking like me. We chat as usual—only six feet apart. A couple of days ago, a friend from a different part of town stopped his car beside me. From the back seat, his nine-year-old son said, "This is the first time I've been in a car since March 8th." The last time I had seen them they had been on bicycles.
 
Experiencing real physicality directly is important for knowing the world fully, and slowing down helps. Terri Windling has pulled together what several writers have said about Living at a walker's pace.

 


But not everybody can get outside this way right now, and so the many virtual tours popping up on line are a real boon. A stroll through the Japanese Garden in bloom at Brooklyn Botanical Garden via a dashboard camera may lack the scents, bodily motions, and sounds of a real walk; but it has its own rhythm and offers an immersion in something besides the news, in something beautiful.
 
Finally, for sheer intellectual whoopee! a drone excursion through a recent excavation at Pompeii had me grinning. Never mind that the commentary is in Italian—just go for the ride. (Or if you really feel the need for English commentary, you can get the video and a translation of the script here.)

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