Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Monday, September 30, 2013

HOW TO KEEP FROM GETTING BORED WHEN YOU WALK

I frequently mention my daily four mile walk on this blog.  I am obviously pathetically pleased with myself for keeping at it when I am almost eighty.  But the truth is that the walk, although not hard, is terminally boring.  I take the same route every day of the week, past the same trees and houses, the same UNC golf course and pond and club house, the same waste water treatment facility, the same Ronald McDonald House.   And then I turn around and walk back home.  I daydream a lot, I plan blog posts, I have political arguments with imaginary interlocutors, all to keep myself amused.

There are two things I look for to tell Susie about, rather like the little boy in  the first Dr. Seuss book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.  The first is buses.  Chapel Hill has a system of free buses that follow a number of routes, and one of them, the HU bus, runs along the road that is the principal part of my walk.  As the buses roar by, I count them.  Early in the morning, they run frequently, and I usually see six or seven coming and going during my walk.  But on very rare occasions, if all the stars are aligned just right, I see eight HU buses.  That is always a very big day for me.  Today I saw eight buses.

The other thing I look for is the resident blue heron.  He actually shows up in a number of venues -- the pond near our condo, a pond a little farther away, and the big pond that is part of the golf course alongside which I walk.  Susie sees the heron also when she takes a walk to one of the ponds.  Whenever I see the heron, I am sure to tell her after I return from my walk.  Sometimes, if I am very lucky, he takes off and flies overhead, with his huge leathery wings looking for all the world like the pterodactyls at the end of Jurassic Park.

Well, this morning on my return leg, I saw the blue heron by the golf course pond.  As I looked at him, he took flight, and then a second blue heron took off from the near shore!  And then a third blue heron flew overhead.  I knew that I would have very exciting news for Susie when I got home, so I soldiered on.  And when I was almost home, passing Brixx Pizza across the street from our condo, A FOURTH HERON FLEW OVERHEAD.

Eight buses and four herons.  This is a day to remember.

5 comments:

Chris said...

Wolff,
I have a similar problem, in that I jog for about a half hour a day (less distance than you, and I'm 27 - so you're kicking my ass!), and it's extremely boring. If I wasn't addicted to the endorphin high, I couldn't do it. That said, to keep busy I listen to a lot philosophy podcast while I jog. You may want to give that a try?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I am afraid that if I listened to philosophy, I would stop walking and start arguing with the recording!

John Seed said...

Robert, I wonder if you have read the poet Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976). He walked and walked the streets of New York for many years and wrote hundreds of short poems of his observations. He may have passed you in the street one day in your youth! He was also a wonderful prose writer. You can easily find his writing via google and Amazon.

John Seed said...

Robert, I wonder if you have read the poet Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976). He walked and walked the streets of New York for many years and wrote hundreds of short poems of his observations. He may have passed you in the street one day in your youth! He was also a wonderful prose writer. You can easily find his writing via google and Amazon.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

John, Reznikoff is not a name I know at all. I will see what I can find online. Thanks for the tip.