To walk step by step contracts space. Consumption of distance on foot, though seemingly contrary because it takes so much longer, actually distills it in memory. This is what’s meant by taking possession.
A space may have been made by machines that dwarf our little human dimensions but distilled memory doesn’t dwell on effort. It can transcends both the grandest creations of nature and the ambitious mechanical constructions of man. The most imposing monolith is reduced to mere fact of expended labour once you’ve conquered it by simple physical exploration
In distilled memory, after the walk or recalling past journeys the largest of spaces can be traversed and encompassed at the speed of thought – truly the fastest speed there can be and, by definition, ENTIRELY relative.
Buildings, no matter their size, can be leapt in a single bound! What’s more, walking means exploring the world’s objects not in isolation but connected by your own authentic footsteps – one by one. Walking is also the ultimate babelfish of geography. It moves from new terrain to new surroundings in real time, travelling the void space inter-connections, thus rendering them non void, establishing possession on the robust foundations of completed mapspace.
This is not all.
Unlike looking at the map or postcard or enjoying the conceit of ‘being there’ by listening to anecdotes or even watching Google Street View, the walker gets to own the context too. He or she acquires real moments in time, the performances in every passing instance, in short: the PEOPLE.
And these people are not turned to hide away, their faces blurred out in the early morning exposure, but instead move about their business unconscious of observation: existing in the space; living with it, through it, around it, in all their many splendoured banality. They say the journey is more important than the destination. If that’s true it’s because of the people; the life of fellow travellers with whom – for a little while – we share the road.