Monday, October 17, 2016

17. What I Found Whilst Walking

In the spirit of the heightened awareness this habit has cultivated in me step-by-step, today I'm writing about the random things I have found on my walking path. They are obscure, insignificant objects. They caught my attention. They piqued my writer-brain, which led to posing questions and kept me entertained as I walked my route. 

These shoes were on the sidewalk across the street from a court building. I snapped a picture and thought, What's the story here? Does the person miss these shoes? Did they hurt his feet? How were they abandoned exactly in this place?

The next day I passed the shoes again. In the very same spot. Do they constitute litter on day two? Is someone coming back for them?

I was prepared to take a third photo, but when I came to this stretch of sidewalk the shoes were gone. Who took them?

This sheet of styrofoam was waiting for me on the stretch of sidewalk near the trash can. Lucky break. I didn't have to carry it far.
It was a litter-picker-upper's jackpot. I couldn't stomach the idea of it being passed over and stepped on or broken apart into a million pieces. So much easier to dispose of it now, and avoid a bigger mess.

We have a coin jar at church. When the offering is collected, the children gather loose change from the congregation's wallets. I pick up every coin I find. Small gesture added to small gesture makes difference. I pick up every penny.

Again, how do shoes get abandoned? Does the wearer notice that she's only wearing one shoe? These are the big questions sights like these induce in this walker.

There's not much to say about this sofa pillow. It caught my attention because, well in a way, it's litter. It doesn't belong in the center of an intersection. I didn't retrieve it because I don't belong in the middle of an intersection rescuing a sofa pillow either.

This abandoned glass sat in the side yard of a home I pass everyday for nearly a month. A friend said she thought it was a glass from the Ritz Carlton hotel a few blocks past the home. I looked for this glass every day and contemplated what I should do with it, how it got there in the first place, and how long it would stay there. I was intrigued that the homeowners hadn't noticed it, but it is a stretch of yard that isn't mowed, so I understood how it would get passed over.
Then one day I looked and it had shattered. There had been a storm the night before, and I assumed it had been struck by something. I was a little disappointed when my game was over. I left the glass in pieces just as I found it and kept walking. 

A reminder that a new season is around the corner. What new ideas will I think up as I walk in cooler temperatures and crunch on leaves that turn fiery red and fall to the ground?

This is my friend, Jana. She's one of my best friends at work. One day I noticed a car slowed in the street to my left. I hadn't noticed it at first because I was preoccupied with the podcast I was listening to, but finally the driver got my attention, and it was Jana!

More nature.

I wonder when I see an abandoned shipping slip, “Is there a parcel waiting to be picked up?” Should I pick it up and do something with it? I choose to keep walking.

More of the same.

I found this little bit of loveliness on a family's driveway. It made me think of the cutie drawings my daughter has done in her childhood career.

This saying caught my eye as I passed my favorite retail store on my path. I like the idea of marrying adventure in the second half of life.


  1. Comments on the shoes: I often carry a secondary pair of shoes to work, esp if the pair I have on isn't conducive to a quick walk at lunch or after work errands, etc. I suspect the lone shoe(s) (and perhaps the pair) weren't disregarded so much as forgotten during a change or fell out of a bag while being toted.

  2. Growing up in South Florida we would find random pairs of shoes left at the beach. That kind of makes sense, but in the city on a sidewalk? Perhaps there was a one-person rapture and the only thing left were their shoes!!!

  3. Great pics and interesting thoughts. I'm going to have to pay more attention to my surroundings when I walk. You see all kinds of things!