A Walk to Memorize

The other day I took a walk through my general area of Queens, seeking out nice light and places I hadn't seen. The peppered photos are from this little journey (as inspired by some of Friend Patrick's recent posts). I didn't start on my walk with the specific purpose of taking photos -- just thought of it as I was headed out the door. Rather, I wanted to grab a little leg stretching while there was still light out on a beautiful day that I had otherwise spent largely indoors and seated.

I don't know why I don't take walks more often, but I'm going to try from now on. I was recently reminded while listening to the Totally Laime podcast that it used to be a habit of mine. I would take walks with my mom or friends or love interests along the twisting asphalt paths that twined through the forests of my hometown neighborhoods, and these walks invariably made for interesting conversation and at least a little bit of relaxation. They were nice, so of course I took them for granted. Maybe when I moved to the city I convinced myself that there was nothing to see like the flora and fauna of Burke, or maybe I was too concerned with my safety initially, or found my days too full or time returning home too late to contemplate walking as recreation. Heck-n-shoot: We walk everywhere in New York. Maybe I've missed the distinction between that kind of walking and the leisure activity.

Whatever the reason for the pause, I'm returning to it. This walk through Queens was tremendous and refreshing (refreshendous?) and really set me in a state of mind I could definitely do with more of. Somehow the decision to "go for a walk" freed me up to sort of declare that I was going to have an experience and not aim to get anything done for a little while. I was active, and continuously so, but also receptive and generally contemplative. Instead of going somewhere or being somewhere, I was neither.

The next day I saw a talk that resonated with me. Linda Stone was stating observations that I have been making for years now, and putting them into a context I could understand and appreciate. She was turning information into knowledge, perhaps. Whatever it was, it reminded me of the state of being I returned to on my little walk. Some steps from her walk:

  • Noise becomes data when it has a cognitive pattern.
  • Data becomes information when assembled into a coherent whole which can be related to other information.
  • Information becomes knowledge when integrated with other information in a form useful for making decisions and determining actions.
  • Knowledge becomes understanding when related to other knowledge in a manner useful in anticipating, judging and acting.
  • Understanding becomes wisdom when informed by purpose, ethics, principles, memory and projection.