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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Walk the line | pleasures

Camus wrote that in the depths of winter he finally learned that within him dwelled an invincible summer. And in the cities it seems that it always happens the same. With the arrival of the long days, life returns: the sidewalks are filled with people, sweaty and happy, and the parks are filled with runners, walkers and readers lying on giant towels. Every year I wonder where those people were hiding, under what stone they were hibernating. In summer we can finally release tension, and that warmth invites many to go out and enjoy the outdoors until the power goes out. It is as if it were suddenly possible for many lives to fit into a single day, with the grass of the parks stretching out under the feet of those who walk through them. We leave behind the dark and closed scenarios, and any activity becomes brighter with the change of scenery: we replace the indoor pool with strokes on the beach, the treadmill in the parks. In many of these parks I have been watching tightrope walkers determinedly walking on a thin rope tied to the trunks of two trees. The short journey requires the absolute concentration of those who travel, suspended between the leaves of the plants and the grass on the ground. The English expression for this practice is walk the line, walk the line. The phrase also refers to the intermediate position between two antagonistic options, between two opposing opinions, and the practice of self-control. Singer Johnny Cash used it as a declaration of love and fidelity, referring to the leap of faith that his relationship with June Carter required (“because you’re mine, I walk the line”). Walking recently through the Retiro Park, I was constantly amazed by the number of athletes and spontaneous people who mixed with the visitors of the booths of the Book Fair. I have never been a great athlete, and I admire people who discipline themselves to exercise, especially during the hot season. The Retiro scenes transport me to other parks where I have spent sunny days. La Ciutadella in Barcelona, ​​where I spent hours leaving university classes; Hampstead Heath in London (where I first read Julian Barnes), with groups of English people having beer and picnicking, celebrating a day when the weather is clement; Central Park, with cyclists cycling up and down the green of the Big Apple, and the backdrop for so many walks and readings. In a certain way, there is an invisible connection between the green spaces of all these cities, where their inhabitants coexist between balancing exercises and relaxed reading. Those who walk the line in the parks are a reflection of the bustle of our days, oscillating between extremes. When writer Cheryl Strayed’s mother passed away untimely, the cosmopolitan daughter found no other way to deal with her grief than to leave the city behind and head into the woods of the Pacific Crest Trail. Exercising abroad puts us face to face with the contradictions with which we live. And, increasingly, the need to compensate urban life with contact with nature becomes a constant. Many, like Strayed, reconnect with themselves with nature as a framework: “It had to do with the feeling of being in nature. What did it feel like to walk for miles for no other reason than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grass, sunrises and sunsets. It was a powerful and pivotal experience.”

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– Article Written By @Leticia Vila-Sanjuán from https://smoda.elpais.com/placeres/caminar-la-linea/

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