All things are engaged in writing their history...Not a foot steps into the snow, or along the ground, but prints in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. The ground is all memoranda and signatures; every object covered over with hints. In nature, this self-registration is incessant, and the narrative is the print of the seal.-- Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted by Robert Macfarlane in the preface to The Old Ways. "The eye is enticed by a path and the mind's eye also."
Emerson and Macfarlane are thinking of an essentially benign wild and/or rural environment. Will Self suggests that in the electronically-mediated ['smart'] city, walking is often "analogous to a clinically defined psychotic state."
P.S. 14 May: Marmaduke Dando: 'Growing up in a suburb outside of the city of Portsmouth, we didn’t do God and we didn’t do nature. We just did what we were told.'