Walking and Talking

By December 2, 2013

In Who’s Who Bohm had listed “walking” as his hobby and this was certainly true. When we were working on our book Wholeness and the Implicate Order each morning I would take the Tube to Edgware and reach his house on Gibbs Green. We would then go for a long walk together, with Bohm doing a lot of the talking. In essence we were discussing the content of the next few pages to be written. At the end of our walk we would have lunch and Bohm would rest while I typed up the notes of our discussion. Then when Bohm came down we would discuss the notes and plan our conversation for the following day.

Some years later we began work on a new book The Order between and Beyond. For this we met at the Bailey Farms near Ossining, New York. This was an ideal location for Bohm, a farm house with a lake and lots of green countryside around. Again we would walk and talk in the morning and then work on our notes in the afternoon.

Of course when he talked Bohm could become so engrossed that he almost did not know where he was. On one occasion Bohm looked up in surprise at a group of houses and said “they look familiar”, my reply to him was that we had already made the same circuit three times! On another occasion I had taken Bohm to an interview at the CBC and we were walking north along Tottenham Court Road. We passed Goodge Street tube station and should now have turned right on Torrington Place which leads to Birkbeck College and his office but instead Bohm kept on walking. In the end we were approaching the area of Euston Station. Bohm looked surprised and asked “where are we?” “Near Euston”, I replied. “But where is the college?”, he asked. I told him we had already passed the turn off and after all he had done that walk every week day for the past few years.

In 1981 Bohm had a heart bypass operation and for a time his health improved but later his arteries became blocked again and he was unable to take the long walks he enjoyed. This also coincided with his period of depression and for my part I felt there was a connection between his depression and the absence of one of his most enjoyable activities, walking.

My last memory of David Bohm is of us walking together before I returned home to Ottawa. As we walked Bohm told me yet again of his love for Hegel’s thought, which has been an important thread through his life.