Le prochain pas

I discovered walking meditation a few years ago with the inspiring Craig and Devon Hase. We were in Ashland in the spring and although it was still cool and damp outside we could walk in the park. I had never walked so slowly in my life. It was enchanting. I remember the moss, the sky, the mountains above as I lifted one foot and then slowly, slowly rolled it to the ground. Here in Toulouse they also have walking meditation at the dojo, or had. But they walk fast, laps and laps along the springy green floor. I can barely creak up, I mean keep up, on my stiff knees after half an hour of sitting meditation.

This made me laugh. Oh California, what have you done to the youth of France?

One time this local group had a meditation day a little out of town in an artist’s rambling old house. We sat upstairs in a warm room and then walked in the yard over lumpy tufts of grass and around bushes. Before we went and put our shoes on for the walking meditation the leader warned us that a large puppy had been acquired and to watch out for dog poop. They walked a little bit slower that day.

I think this brick path is progressing as slowly as confinement time, one day that arrow will reach the cement circle but not today, not tomorrow.

We are currently not allowed to go farther than one kilometer from our homes so I have been walking around and around for miles every day. Sometimes I just go in circles around the pretty and closed parks. Sometimes I pretend to get lost and wander down roads that I don’t remember, I try to trick myself into mystery. All of the green spaces are closed. These walks make no sense. They have become walking simply for the sake of walking. I am going nowhere and then I am going back to this apartment.

I used to make up errands or think of things to see to have an excuse for my long city walks. Every day someone from the US asks me what my plan is. The borders are closed. They want to know when I am coming back, when we get to leave. I am stuck here. Not in France! In this writing. The problem is that right now all I have are questions and I always tell my students not to write questions but to take the time and find what they really want to say.

I do not know what the next step is but I am getting really good at walking aimlessly. Walking meditation is so cool because all of a sudden the act of moving is just that, all process, no goal. Welcome to confinement. One of my favorite poems in French is Passionément by the Romanian Ghérasim Luca. If you speak French you should look it up and listen to the recording. Pas in French is a negation. J’aime pas. I don’t like, as opposed to j’aime. Pas in French also means a step. Un pas à gauche, un pas en avant (I think they said something like that during the lunar landing). You’ve all heard of a faux pas, a misstep. So here we are, all going nowhere, pas pas. Enjoy!

pas pas paspaspas pas 
pasppas ppas pas paspas 
le pas pas le faux pas le pas 
paspaspas le pas le mau 
le mauve le mauvais pas 
paspas pas le pas le papa 
le mauvais papa le mauve le pas 
paspas passe paspaspasse 
passe passe il passe il pas pas 
il passe le pas du pas du pape 
du pape sur le pape du pas du passe 
passepasse passi le sur le 
le pas le passi passi passi pissez sur 
le pape sur papa sur le sur la sur 
la pipe du papa du pape pissez en masse 
passe passe passi passepassi la passe 
la basse passi passepassi la 
passio passiobasson le bas 
le pas passion le basson et 
et pas le basso do pas 

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