Most of my fair-weather, spring-through-summer-into-Fall Saturday-morning youth, was spent weeding.

I’m not complaining, although I did a lot of that in my teens. It didn’t matter much, though. I don’t have much of an idea what was on Saturday morning cartoons, because they didn’t exist at our house.  Saturday mornings were for pitching in. If it wasn’t raining, there was yard work.

I probably had it the easiest being the girl. I suppose it was assumed I’d adore flowers and therefore want to save them from the continual attack of stuff that wasn’t supposed to be there in between the walk-lining Marigolds, beneath manicured bushes or among the Pansies circling the lilac tree.

I didn’t. Love flowers, I mean. I won’t go as far as to say I don’t like them now, either. I enjoy seeing them, in other people’s spaces. I certainly don’t envy the dedication required.

Recent weekend mornings have been challenging.  Intentionally reserved for walking an intense 3 miles each Saturday and Sunday morning, I don’t try and meet my weekly pace. I know I’ll be making stops along the way, and my time will lag a little mainly due to… flowers.

Two weekends ago, I was about to be shorted into arriving home at only 2.97 miles. I wanted the 3, badly enough to circle my building block, twice. The second time around, I noticed something. Something bad.

There had been some interesting tall flower-like thingies bobbing outside the bedroom window for a while, but it never really crossed my mind that those plantings might now be mine. As in, I bought the place and inherited whatever previous strange things the owner did as well as the lack of normal type of things they didn’t do.

This was didn’t-do. That really needed to be done. Sloppily placed decorative border-bricks unevenly announced this was supposed to be a gardened area. I can’t in good conscience say it was actually supposed to be a garden; that would be an unnecessarily grandiose assumption.

Still, there were two of them. One on each side of the partially hidden central air hardware; and they were full. Really full – of stuff. So full it became a 30-second stop and stare. Stunned and stumped,  I reluctantly edged around to the seldom used front entry and figured out the larger lumpish-shapes hiding behind my mammoth weeds were probably unsculpted bushes, kin to the semi-sculpted ones on either side of the door.

I was headed back to the jungle-side when the Map My Walk mile-counter lady pleasantly relayed I had stumbled into three-mile mark. 3.2 and past-goal to be exact. So, I walked away and that was that.

Quote for the Week:

2015 08 25 fastest way to find respect for someone elses work jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Weeds: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/pests/insects-diseases-weeds/types-of-weeds/

Still Not Sure? There’s a Library for That:  http://www.garden.org/weedlibrary/

This Has Been Going On For a While: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardening


Paths, Altered

Here’s what I’ve been leading up to: I spend a lot of time looking down.

For the past few wonderfully warm months, it’s been at sidewalks and I’ve been mostly noticing this.

It hasn’t exactly been three years in coming. The first year was the struggle year. I fought to get out there. I fought to keep moving, keep challenging. Eventually, I noticed. Flowers, trees, blue skies, an occasional name scrawled in cement, a lot of cracks, uneven and uninteresting surfaces.

The second year, I pushed some more; booked longer jaunts, explored new neighborhoods, occasionally stopping to take pictures; fascinated by flowers, trees, blue skies, shadows, fences, a lot of cracks and uneven and now interesting surfaces. Sun glare left me snapping a lot of blind cellphone shots. Always, later, enjoying both the fun and frustration of reviewing the results, because even if what I meant to capture wasn’t the subject, sometimes something cooler came out of it.

As autumn came around, I searched for card-worthy photo-opportunities hoping to find the one sunset-hued tree-lined street or that one huge majestic oak. Looking down lead to great discoveries; a perfect leaf brilliant against grey dappled paths, an impressive impression pressed into wet cement likely by a hard-driving rain, piles piled up on lawns or swept into the street, hugging curbs in groups of brown haphazardly flecked with near-hidden yellows and oranges, reds and variegated prematurely released greens.

This year, traveling the same paths, everyday has taken over.  Embossed concrete company names and dates, chalk art, paint art, cat feet, dog feet, bird feet, squirrel and chipmunk and raccoon prints, and shoe stamps. There were way more people-were-here foot statements than previously noted. I was surprised by how many. Really.

Attributed to inconsiderate via abuse, patterned imprints in repeat and array, made me wonder.

Could there really be that many destructively intent sidewalk users? So many egotistically minded semi-eternal foot-printers? So many post-Kilroy era jokers laughingly adding “I Was Here” footnotes?

A slight step-back from the shadow I cast and a minute of reexamination made me think again. Maybe that’s not it at all.

Maybe there are kinder, equally plausible explanations for this side-walked trample.

Runners, confident, in the zone, might move eight full steps into the wet before they realized it. (Slightly jealous of this notion.)

Walkers, missing clues might misjudge liquidity levels. (Perhaps, if I wasn’t wearing my glasses…)

Bus stop standers waiting for buses or trying to sprint-step step-around navigate. (Glad, my commute hasn’t come to that, yet…)

Whatever the reason, whoever you are, accidentally or on-purpose, you’ve given me pause for thought, photographic memories, and left an impression now sparked with creativity.

It’s been an interesting, observational summer. Looking forward to walking an equally inspiring fall.

Quote for the Week:

2015 08 18 shadows on the sidewalks jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Was Here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilroy_was_here

Walk in the Rain: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/30/artist-sidewalk-art-appears-only-when-wet_n_6957470.html

Cure This: http://www.engr.psu.edu/ce/courses/ce584/concrete/library/construction/curing/curing.html

Paths, Almost

Looking down.

Habit; necessity.

I remember learning to walk, perhaps because I was a little older when I started to. With my mother at one end, and my older brother at the other, we played a game that required me to take a certain color ball from one person and bring it to the other. Not only did I have to know the color, I had to say the color, and then I had to deliver it to the other end. I recall being stuck on “yellow.” I couldn’t keep playing until I said “yellow,” and I wasn’t very good at saying “yellow.” It came out “weh-woh,” no matter how many times my mother instructed, “Say, yellow. Yell – o.”

The generational practice to correct club-feet was casting. It took me years, and a visit to a chiropractor to determine that while my feet are straight, and I move without a noticeable gait, my hips are ill-aligned.

The result is unsteadiness, a tendency for my ankles to turn. Looking down for sure-footedness constantly warred with the grade-school how-young-ladies-walk admonition, “Look up and ahead when walking.”

This is the reason I don’t run; experience has made me too nervous footed. I need to see exactly where the next foot-step is going to land. I am not comfortable the long-distance scan and memorization of holes, or cracks, or puddles, second nature to regular runners.

I do not want to fall; therefore I do not run. Never have. Not for buses, or subways, or taxis, or to be first in line for concert tickets or anything, nada. There was that one time, when a friend convinced me that it would be a good idea to do the day after Christmas early-morning sale stampede at a Wal*Mart in Tennessee. I ran, only for fear of being trampled and only off to the side until I was safe.

I’m sure there’s some sort of opposite visionary inspirational out there. “Do not let fear of falling stop you from running,” or something along those lines.

I’ve come to a good clip, though, constantly working to up-pace. Not quite speed-walker fast, but not quite as awkward appearing, either. I do imagine running while I’m walking. I also imagine dancing, and leaping in joy. I really did enjoy dance-walking, and was sad to see it end.

Some people don’t quite understand the competitive speed walking delineation. It does beg the question, “If you’re going to almost run, why not run?” This argument makes sense, unless you’re hosting a slight impairment, magnified by fear and habit.

It always comes down to this:

Who knows what brings people to where they are, or why they do or don’t do certain things?

… and this:

Gift someone with encouragement.

Quote for the Week:

2015 08 11 For every visionary inspirational out there jakorte

Enjoy this week’s Discovery Links:

Pluswalk: http://eracewalk.walkingclubofgeorgia.com/PlusFAQsWhy.htm

Posturing: http://www.racewalk.com/howTo/posture.php

For beginners: http://www.thewalkingsite.com/beginner.html


Paths, Walking

I love summer morning strolls. Early, when the air is sweet, dew is everywhere and there are fewer cross walk delays. It feels good and feeds my photographic passions. Each year finds its own focus. Most of last year was flower-obsessed. This year, it’s about the paths.

I make most of my picture stops on weekend mornings when the walks can be longer, and slower. Weekday walks are more like work; calculated for maximum accomplishment, a bit forced, and not so photo friendly. The evening challenge is trying not to go too early or too late, taking shorter and faster routes in order to get life’s other evening things settled before midnight. It gets complicated.

Too early, it’s too hot and muggy and cranky commuters seem to find button-pushing cross-walkers offensive. Too late, when the air is cooler and breezes begin, I’ve felt unsafe. Loiterers make me nervous. I’ve had to ask myself, while picking up my pace, why an adult man is riding a rather small bike around in circles in the middle of an after-work deserted road while his buddy turtle-walks toward me unsteadily. Could be the guy on the bike is just an escort keeping pace with his buddy on their way home from grabbing a shift-end cold-one; could be something sinister.

The key seems to be to set out closely following the supper window. Winding my way around corners and clusters, rare repeats – an elderly couple, a solo dog-walker – nod as paths cross. I enjoy the nicety, but keep walking in true New York City style; never taking the same route two days in a row.

I do this for my own safety. It annoys me, though, that I can’t walk where I want, when I want without having to conceive and calculate danger, and that I must let logic push pleasure aside.

Quote for the week:

2015 08 04 logic pushes pleasure aside 08 04 2015 jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

August is Brake Safety Awareness Month: http://www.wgem.com/story/29699274/2015/08/03/be-sure-to-check-your-brakes-august-is-brake-safety-awareness-month

Why Some Brains Enjoy Fear: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/why-do-some-brains-enjoy-fear/280938/

Walking Benefits: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1199