There is a certain amount of uncertainty to parking a car, getting out and walking. It’s different from heading out to a park or a familiar neighborhood. There might be risks. There might not be. I’ve found that as I think this through, there are certain neighborhoods that I really look forward to walking; Old Town, Downtown, Washington Square, the neighborhood I grew up in, my grandma’s neighborhood that I know as well as my own, neighborhoods around the schools I went to. There are also the neighborhoods I’m a bit leery about walking. Today I traversed a neighborhood that I had never been to. It was nestled between the 127 highway and Michigan Ave. I was completely surprised by the tranquility of this neighborhood. Despite the constant drone of the highway it was peaceful. The Cape Cod style homes were perfectly manicured. Many had external decorations, plants, accessories, even signs with the homeowner’s name to enhance the appeal. The subtle smell of dryer sheet permeated the air. On two separate streets I came across a middle-aged man trimming his pristine lawn with an electric edger. Both acknowledged my passing with a smile or a nod. I felt safe here.
As I crossed over Michigan Ave. into the neighborhood directly south I felt I had passed through some sort of barrier. A twilight zone. The lawns were over grown. Cars were broken down. There was trash on the sidewalks and many of the driveways were unpaved. The only person I saw scowled at me as I passed. I was struck by the contrast. These neighborhoods were less than a block apart yet social-economically miles apart. This was a pattern I would probably find all over Lansing. I wonder if I could find some reason to it?
My next highlight of this walk was that I was finally able to communicate my mission to someone. Someone who would completely get it, and he did; the local mailman. As I was about to walk past him he asked me about my camera and I answered his question by explaining my goal to walk every street in Lansing. He was intrigued and very optimistic about my project. It was a shot in the arm I really needed. Thanks mister post man! He also gave me my first bit of advice: get a dog spray. He thinks I will really need that. Given his occupation I think I will do exactly as he says!
Here is my walk map for today: Map