Took A Walk Saw This

(A few selected images from this project are posted below — scroll down to see them and click to view. To see all of the images from all of the months, go up to the menu bar and click.)

In 2016 I took a walk every day and posted an image on Instagram. No explanation, I just did it. Then after a year I ended the project and posted this:

As Bjork says, “we don’t go to church, we take a walk.” So after a year of posting Took A Walk Saw This every day, I am stepping off. It was fun on all fronts. Thanks to my many friends and especially the couple-dozen folks who liked pretty much every post, which made me feel like we had a virtual walking meet-up happening. At the risk of being obvious – and that has never stopped me — I am going to say what Took A Walk Saw This means to me, what I get out of it. First, I walk because I like it. It’s a simple pleasure. It’s healthful, therapeutic, and I get a lot of productive daydreaming done. I walked almost every day of 2016, except when the weather was thoroughly inclement. My phone says I covered over 2,000 miles in the year (I walked Seattle-to-Austin!), so 5 miles would be normal (an hour-plus) and 10 would be long but not super-uncommon. Mostly in nature (studies say there are extra benefits from trees and water and I believe it), but some on urban sidewalks. I try to mix it up. Where I live in Bellevue, WA is within a half-hour of mountain trails, vast parks and walkable beaches. But since I retired I’ve gone carless, making all that a weekend luxury when I’ve got a ride available. No problem. I can jump off my backyard through a laurel bush right onto a path that connects to a vast system of trails and greenbelts through the neighborhoods. Now, it’s good for a walk to have a beginning, a middle and an end but — as Godard said about movies — not necessarily in that order; occasionally in a wooded labyrinth I was that old joke: I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am. I walk fast but, still, this is down at ground level, so there are a lot of positives in the stop-and-smell-the-roses thing. The visuals, the chittering of birds and squirrels, the running water, the forest smell. Friends have commented on what the daily pic means to them. Some said it encouraged them to also get out and walk (it was not my intention to be a cult leader, but . . .) or to slow down their life in some other meaningful way, others enjoyed the vicarious walkabout, some were happy to see that I was staying active and taking care of myself, and others just liked the picture itself, which provided a few seconds of armchair tourism. Truth is, I’m glad to have brought a positive something-something to your day. The photos themselves, as you have seen, are not meticulously composed or perfectly lit. I did my best, but they are mostly just whatever was in front of me. Many days this was a path heading off around a corner into an ambiguous future and if any of you read that as a metaphor for life I could not dispute it. Other times it was whatever caught my eye: a leaf close-up, the expressive Northwest sky, a funny sign warning me to stay out of wherever I was going. And sometimes there was something extra in the composition that presented itself, something real emotional or mysterious or poetic or spiritual that made for a more powerful impact. That was a good day when that happened. So, I am done with Took A Walk Saw This. I intend to keep on walk-taking, just not posting. I will have to cook up another scheme to avoid getting bored. (Just kidding: I don’t do boredom; what’s Homer Simpson’s line? “That ain’t my style, man.”) Being one of those optimistic positive people you’ve heard about, I’m looking ahead. Happy New Year!