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Afoot & Lighthearted: Writing on the Trail at Radnor Lake

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

—Walt Whitman, 1856

For decades, Walt Whitman’s lines have taught that when we go afoot, we are invited to be light-hearted, curious, and optimistic. The open road, trail, or sidewalk invites freedom. Spending too much time indoors, he knew, can lead us to feel paralyzed by too much information. This class imports Whitman’s advice to writers of our time, coaxing us to stop scrolling aimlessly through the news or social media and to spend time afoot on the trail, in a world that is wondrous, mysterious, and worthy of our time, attention, and affection. Over three Saturday mornings, we’ll use walking as a tool to revive creativity and refresh the imagination. The theme of each class will be “a sense of place,” “attention,” and “exploration.” Please bring a journal, pens/pencils (including colored pencils if you’d like), comfortable shoes, and a water bottle.

  • Instructor: Bonnie Smith Whitehouse
  • Length of workshop: 3 weeks
  • Date: Saturdays, October 14, 21, and 28
  • Time: 7 - 8:30 a.m.
  • Cost: $103 members; $115 non-members
  • Location: Radnor Lake (you will receive specific directions regarding meeting place prior to first class)

About the Instructor:

Bonnie Smith Whitehouse, Ph.D., is Professor of English at Belmont University. She specializes in the flourishing field of writing studies and is dedicated to producing written work that brings academic findings to a curious general readership. For twenty years, she has taught writing to undergraduate and graduate students, and for over six years, she has taught an innovative, experimental learning community on walking and writing. When Tennessee’s spring wildflowers are at their peak, she has led retreats integrating writing and hiking. Her forthcoming book Afoot: Groundwork for Creative Walkers is an interactive journal that teaches readers how to harness the power of walking to cultivate and nourish attention, inspiration, and determination, as well as combat distraction, anxiety, and the dreaded creative block. Bonnie seeks to help others cultivate creativity, well-being, and peace through by prompting them to engage thoughtfully and contemplatively with the natural world.