Talking the Walk

It seems to me now that the spin of the world is speeding up, that time is moving more quickly than it did just a month ago. It seems that the entire year is collapsing around me, and that there is still too much left to feel and do.

I struggle to find footholds with which to keep my balance in time. I want to understand everything that is happening to nature and to me, but I get distracted by thinking and trying to know, and then I lose my place and fall away from the path.

Of course, there is nothing except the summer itself if I simply talk the walk:

Only words make the world. Nothing exists outside the reach of a voice. I look at the ground and turn it into truth: two ants, a clump of grass, a dandelion gone to seed, a housefly, a mosquito near my foot, a broken twig.

If I pause or stop or wonder or wish or want, the real summer becomes longings and nostalgias and regrets and reminiscence.

So I pull myself back and talk the walk again: the black walnut fallen to the street, the fat Osage fruit thumping to the back garden. I exercise the discipline of litany in listing events, trusting that events in words accumulate, that more and more and more will be enough.

This is wishful thinking, I am well aware. It is nervous chatter that distracts me from what might really lie behind the shortening of the days. Still, memory and hope are the vultures of the word and the present. They rip and tear the flesh of my litany, my summer chant.

But if I can just walk here, without stopping, without looking back or forward, I will keep my balance. I will talk and talk the walk.

Bill Felker

“Talking the Walk” might be another way of attempting to control time. “Almanack Essays: Stilling the Kinematoscope” and “Almanack Essays: Slow Time” come from a similar place in my head.

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