A Walk to Remember to Remember

Jesse Miller

My finest life achievement is one I don’t even remember. It exists memorialized only through the meticulous documentation of my ever-attentive parents. There I am, little Jesse, crouched in the grass in my OshKsosh overalls; the wind causes the audio on the videotape to crackle, obscuring for a moment the background sounds of people talking, children screaming and playing, a few birds singing spring. Then I rise, slowly, wobbily, on rubbery legs, an act which recalls the millennia of evolution I’m sloughing off behind me, the blubbery whales beached on shore whose tails split into legs and who rose slowly as I do in the grainy video and promptly walked up the beach and into the jungle. My initial attempts at bipedalism were a kind of delayed falling forward, with none of the swish and flair for equilibrium that characterizes the carefully modulated walk that I now can proudly call my own. In the video my mother watches trepidatiously as each next step catches me tottering on the brink of disaster.  But for all of their sloppiness they are mine, my first steps, my first forays into human locomotion.

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Richard Long (English, b. 1945). Walk Sculpture Documentation, England, 1968. Photo offset lithograph.

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