a universe of rented spaces

I go on a six mile walk most weekends this spring.  Often from an urge to get out of the house and enjoy the weather and maybe do some thinking or even meditating. Also to explore new streets. I’ve stitched neighborhoods together that I had previously known separately – oh, here is how the park fronts this neighborhood which is so close to the river, etc.

Sometimes I walk to not be lonely, or to be good company to myself in the bustle of the streets I pass through. Sometimes it can feel like I am looking for some place or someone.

Here is a passage that describes how walking means being placeless: I am neither where I started nor where I am going. And it describes the city as a sort of crucible of placelessness. The writer sees the hope of interconnection in the city, but only a temporary, fleeting sort: the city is in the end a backdrop for our wandering and searching.

Here is de Certeau:

“To walk is to lack a place. It is the indefinite process of being absent and in search of an appropriation. The moving about that the city multiplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place — an experience that is, to be sure, broken up into countless tiny deportations (displacements and walks), compensated for by the relationships and intersections of these exoduses that intertwine and create an urban fabric, and placed under the sign of what ought to be, ultimately, the place but is only a name, the City…a universe of rented spaces haunted by a nowhere or by dreamed-of places.”

― Michel de Certeau “The Practice of Everyday Life”


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