Doctors tell us to get in shape, exercise, take a walk. We all know someone who takes “power walks,” as if they are trying to hurry to get somewhere, but don’t have the desire to break into a run. These forms of walking are great if you have a destination or goal in mind.
And then there’s the saunter.
In the early 1970s, W.T. Rabe created “National Sauntering Day,” while he was serving as the public relations director for the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, in response to the growing popularity jogging among the hotel’s guests. (Among Rabe’s other creations are a Stone-Skipping Contest, and the annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness,” which is still published annually).
Sauntering is the way people used to enjoy taking a walk for no particular purpose. It is a “casual – yet stylish – form of walking.” The dictionary definition is “walking slowly, happily, aimlessly,” perhaps like a child who is taking in all of the sights while trying to follow his parents at the zoo.
With today marking the First Day of Summer (Summer Solstice is June 21), and heat fluctuating between “really hot” and “I’m melting,” sauntering is a wonderful way to meander through the neighborhood, enjoy local walking trails, or stroll through an air-conditioned shopping mall.
Henry David Thoreau celebrated the “art of walking” in his final work, “Walking” (published in Harper’s a month after his death). He stated that he found a particular genius in people practiced sauntering, a word derived from the time that people made pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Onlookers would exclaim, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” (“Holy Lander”), which became part of the vernacular as “saunterer.”
And while Thoreau preferred to walk in the woods, the wilderness, to quench his spirit, today’s Sainte-Terrers often find peace and a sense of well-being in sauntering along the sidewalks, through a garden, or in the company of a friend or two.
Wide sidewalks and amenities filled with nature – such as seasonal plantings, common spaces, walking trails, and proximity to nearby gardens, parks and the like – are part of the allure for home buyers who decide to make their homes in a Windsong community.
We invite you to perfect your saunter at Windsong – Where Life’s A Breeze!