Friday, July 3, 2009

When you walk, you notice so much more...

My beloved Suburban needed to go into the shop for some much needed, but minor attention. Yes, apparently the freon had finally run out in my air conditioning system and it needed to be charged--summer is arriving in full force this weekend...I am a baby and don't want to be in an oven on wheels. I anticipated the mechanic would have my car for at least an hour, so I decided to turn the trip into a "walking adventure". I invited Valiant and Buttercup to join me (rather than having them staying home alone, which they could have chosen to do) and we dropped the car off and headed out on foot. Our destination was the McDonald's a mile from the mechanic. Getting there meant we had to head further away first, to get to a cross-walk, and then head down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, we had to cross back over the same street, and continue walking until we hit the last crosswalk, where we crossed the same street, yet again. Why? Because the city/county didn't see fit to put sidewalks and crosswalks along part of this street/highway (SR395) and I wasn't going to have my children walking in the street along with six lanes of traffic. What a pain.

This is a few miles from where we were
walking, but on the same street/highway.

Having pointed out the complexities of such a simple trip, let me tell you, my children were troopers. The negative comments quickly gave way to the observations: "Wow, look at that bird." "Eew, cars really smell." "Oh, look at that flower." Pretty quickly, we concluded that the world would be more attractive if more people took the time to walk places. The view you have from your car is completely removed the view you have on foot. Really, it is completely removed from reality. All the things that are designed to catch your eye as you're speeding by at 45 miles an hour are lost in translation when you're walking by them. Billboards? No impact. Flashing lights? Just odd. Little bits of debris and trash? Everywhere.

Melissa is taking pictures of her daily walks to show us all where she's been going as she continues her 365 Days of Exercise and when I looked at her pictures, I had to wonder if anyone realized just how ugly and boring mile after mile of cinder block walls really are. She's finding treasures, but still. How often do people still make things pretty, just for the sake of being around pretty things?

(This is a picture of a section of Freeway in So Cal...
see those gorgeous wall tiles? I've always loved them.)

I loved to drive by the pretty section of otherwise endless freeway in California. I understand the necessity for the barriers between the world and the freeways (if you live there, you do, too), but I don't understand why they have to be ugly. Why doesn't pretty matter? I don't know...maybe it is just me, but I think there is value in making things attractive. Fortunately, my kids agree.


Andrea said...

Thankful you found the blessing in walking and made your journey into an adventure. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. andrea

loveaphid said...

I could not agree more. I often say to Fig just because it is utilitarian doesn't mean it can't look good too. Fig is a function over form person, I am a why do I have to choose person.

I love walking for this exact reason, I've met a bunch of my neighbors just out for a walk.