Time to Flaneur – Rev. Heather McCarrel

photo by Annie Spratt with permission/Unsplash

Now that these warm and sunny days have arrived the time has come to flaneur about!  Have you ever flaneured?  Sure you have!

In fact about the same time each weekday afternoon a group of us flaneur through Harrison Park in Owen Sound.  We don’t really know each other very well, meeting each afternoon with a nod, a smile and a “How are you doing today?”  Our dogs sniff at each other, wag their tales and then we flaneur on for another day!

Flaneuring is a French word which originated in the nineteenth century and it referred to a well-to-do man, usually a Parisian, who would stroll through the streets leisurely observing his everyday surroundings finding beauty in the ordinary and the mundane.

Today flaneuring has become a deliberate habit of healthy living.  As Erika Owen writes in her book, The Art of Flaneuring, “ the objective of a flaneur is to enjoy the journey for what it is-to look outward and let what you see influence your inward thoughts, to be a part of the scenery while also taking a moment to deeply appreciate the environment that surrounds you.”

Flaneuring is to wander with intention.  It isn’t a walk to the bank or to the post office; instead it is a deliberate time of just walking, breathing and taking in the scenery.

This deliberate time of strolling is a time of renewal, refreshment and a time when the world becomes a source of great wonder!

May we all take time during this Lenten Season to flaneur our way to awe!

Rev. Heather McCarrel
Port Elgin United Church