Walkabout!

Mary Staff Image

The weather has finally improved, which means I can get back to my favorite pastime: Doing Nothing.  Yes, I garden.  I paint the occasional canvas.  I’ve been getting into photograms.  But this time of year, my favorite thing in the whole world is the simple act of meandering through the city.  I want to spend the little free time I have discovering exciting new snacks in convenience stores I’ve never been in, encountering and admiring public art, and drifting through the many cafes, galleries, and cultural spaces our city has to offer.  Wandering around (aka Doing Nothing) allows me to experience peace and quiet.  Alternately, Doing Nothing can introduce me to places and people who foster adventure into the unknown!  It can afford me a few hours to wander around in seemingly forgotten spaces, whether abandoned or simply little-used, and can lead to discoveries about the past and present of the city I love.

Doing Nothing, mind you, requires creativity.  You have to make it up as you go along, unlike gardening or painting, which demand structure and specific tools.  Doing Nothing asks you to pay attention to the complex system of people, places, and institutions that make up our shared civic space.  Or, it just requires that you have a good pair of shoes and maybe a bus fare in case of rain.  We all work hard, but when the days get long and lovely like this, doesn’t taking a day off sound good?  As your librarian, I advise you to unlearn the punched-in, on-the-clock hustle mentality, even if just for one day.  It can be difficult, but the rewards are restorative and illuminating.  How do you learn to be adventurous?  How do you learn to wander?  How, exactly, do you learn to Do Nothing, and do so with style and grace?  Take a look at the titles below and find some inspiration.  At your leisure, of course.

How to Be Idle

Become an expert in sleeping late, leisurely meals, and the fine art of lounging about with this handy guide to reviving the lost art of idleness.

Wanderlust: A History of Walking

You need little more than a pair of good shoes (and this book) to learn about the world around you.  Explore the meaning of exploration in this insightful history of the simplest means of transportation.