Breaking, broken…Good, bad…Old, new…Global, national, local…Facts, figures, fantasies…Letters, notes, opinions…All the news fit / unfit to post, print, scatter… Norbert Blei – publisher & editor | Monsieur K. – managing editor

the solitary walker


Drawing from the sketchbooks of Charles Peterson.

The Solitary Walker

A walk with someone else beside you, in front of you, behind you, qualifies your
steps, your direction, your meaning and mood.

Though the walk to the lake may be familiar, it is never the same.

Time of day and weather conditions, though unmentioned, immediately affect the

What one sees, though it be familiar, is also not the same.

A walk, to be most meaningful, most meditative, most astonishing, must be

Talk destroys quiet perspective.

Thinking, the mind in a muster of images or memories to be talked out,
diminishes reflection and surprise over the most mundane rock, weed, bird, tree,
or farm in the landscape that seeks the solitary walker’s attention.

The delicacy of both sound and silence are lost to walkers.

The walker alone becomes these.

[from DOOR STEPS, Ellis Press, 1983]

Editor’s Note from No-man’s Land: What I miss during these says of illness are my morning walks. My energy level barely gets me from the house to the coop without tiredness setting in. I sit at the desk and view the road from my window, wishing to be on it, breathing the crisp air. To leave the house and meet the new day on the road as the sun is breaking. To sense the light washing down upon you brightening your every step. Sounds—the whole symphony of spring. Getting inside the new day as it opens and begins to shape the words you will write today. –Norbert Blei


  1. Sharon Auberle

    Though it was nothing like you are undergoing, Norb, I remember that painful yearning, as I sat there in my fracture boot, watching people walk by, taking their lungs and legs and heart for granted…these priceless, immeasureable gifts…
    praying that you’ll soon be back on that road.


    I wish for you to soon be able to go for your morning walks..and to eat asparagus and pierogi…and all good things..
    my love to you…

  3. Julie Eger

    I stood alone, looking all the way up to the top of the hill, clutching my side after the kidney operation. That first day I turned around at the end of the driveway. The next day, I made it to the mail box, and then day after day, I took a few steps more, and then one day I let go of my side as the pain fell away, and I took the first step that would take me to the top of the hill. Ten springs have come since, and two grandchildren, and I have replaced everything else I can think of with love. There is enough left, so I’ll send some your way.

  4. lowellbkomie

    Always good…really lovely…..Lowell

  5. Jean Casey

    I have not walked our woods or gone to the north end of our north meadow in two years, something I loved to do in the cool of evening after dinner, after the birds’ dinner, when the brown bats began to search for dinner, the coyotes began to sing. Bill seriously suggests he will strap a lawn chair to the trailer and haul me out there behind his tractor…seriously! I think not! I have these terrific snapshots in my head, and they will stick with me until….

  6. Tim Stone

    I took that solitary walk this evening surrounded by wonderful wild flowers and soft light. May you gain your strength soon to resume your morning solitary walks.

  7. George Bisbee

    One is never alone in Nature’s Cathedral

  8. steve fortney

    how precious our energy is.

    Zen and the Bird of Insight

    I am sitting on
    the roof of the
    cabin doing
    zazen. Under the
    eaves in front
    of me is a bird
    feeder. A Goldfinch
    suddenly flies up
    past the eaves
    into sight,
    wheels about,
    back down,

    quick, yellow,

    just like that.

  9. Phil Hansotia

    Walking alone is a metaphor for our lives. It has an Emersonian ring.”He who walks in a crowd and yet has the independence to walk alone–is his own man”. The quiet independence of walking alone sums up the way one looks at everything. It brings you, Norb, to mind and the free spirits that light our lives.

  10. Ed Markowski

    a constant stream of well wishes healing energy

    & tong len meditations from my peninsula to yours …

    d r i f t w o o d

    i t ‘ s

    w h e r e

    i ‘ m

    f r o m


    w h e r e

    i ‘ m

    g o i n g









    endless blessings your way from across the lake,

    ed markowski

  11. R D Armstrong

    I live in a very noisy city, so I can appreciate your piece. And the fact that I cannot walk as much as I’d like to makes the piece that much more poignant. But in spite of all that, as one who lives alone and does almost everything alone, I really treasure those moments when I have a “bit” of company…a respite from the crushing silence of my thoughts being devoured by the cacophony of city life.


    As you know, I’ve adopted a substitute for the solitary walks… the lawn tractor. This of course has its shortcomings: the noise and exhaust being major. Today, our two grandsons came out to help with some outside chores, and suggested an electric golf cart. Quiet and pollution-free, it seems a good idea….

  13. MaryAnn Grzych

    I said a prayer for you in church Sunday. Tonight it will be that you are walking down that road again soon!

  14. Jude hey

    Even your birds are rooting for you NorbertO’ … sitting out there on the porch bench, waiting for their sunflower seeds. Pretty soon … keep the faith … chicka-dee-dee-dee.

  15. Robert M. Zoschke

    “A Great Prophet
    is a Great Teacher
    But he is also
    a Great Saint
    And he is furthermore
    a Great Man
    And more than that
    an incomparable listener
    to music and non-music
    And a Great Sitter Under Trees
    And a Man of Trees
    And a Man of Sorrows
    And a Lemon Light
    of Angel Sounds”
    JACK KEROUAC, 31st Chorus–Mexico City Blues

  16. Tom Amberg

    Slowing down as I pass the Coop while enjoying the sun rising above Europe Lake I notice you, Norb, with your dog at your side, walking to this wonderful small lake. I used to make this same trip every morning when I visited Northern Door before health issues temporarily kept me at home. With much Hope, Faith and Patience Norb, we both will once again enjoy this stroll down the road to the lake’s shore. Take very good care my friend.

    Tom Amberg “The Man Who Loves Sister Bay”

  17. Susan Hannus

    Sacred steps to coop
    bird song for balcony seats
    road always at feet

  18. gretchen maring

    I have always loved to walk. Our daughter, Nancy, and I took many walks together as she was growing up. When she comes to visit we still walk together.
    However, there is something about taking a walk all by myself that appeals to me as a solitary thinker. I like being alone. I like just walking along, thinking my own thoughts, with no interruptions and the feeling of being one with whatever creative force surrounds me. There is so much to absorb in this life…so much to treasure!

  19. Leonard Cirino

    I walk a mile or two with my Lab Bessie five to six days a week. We go to Doris Ranch here in Springfield, OR. It’s about 400 acres — mostly filbert orchards but some meadows and woods. It borers the Willamette River and there are wildflowers and many types of tress — some of which I know an some that I don’t. Hope you get your legs back soon, Leonard

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