Tag Archives: fall

Too Festive to Falter


On a day like yesterday the sauntering must go on. It wasn’t out on city streets, however, this time we traveled by car to the lovely Fenner Nature Center. Yesterday was their annual Applebutter Festival. It runs today from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and with sunny weather with a high of 66 degrees I would think there is no better place to be.  With at least three separate places to park there is no need to stress. Some are a walk from the actual festivities but on a weekend like this it should be quite enjoyable. They’ve stretch the festivities out a bit by moving the applebutter cooking pot out “through the meadow” which is down one of the main trails.csIMG_7027If you attend the Maple Syrup Festival then it’s where the syrup is collected from the Sugar Maples. Back at the center you can enjoy apple tasting (my favorite thing to do. There’s an apple that tastes like a banana!). Please watch for the bees. If you don’t swat they won’t sting but with the apples all cut up right there I had bees flying into my face. There is live entertainment, Boy Scout troops sawing logs, facepainting and pumpkin carving areas. Inside is the typical Greater Lansing Potter’s Guild making pottery, natural products and lace weaving. They’ve moved the little store to the back area where they use to do demonstrations and have animal pelts. It’s a much more open area. Downstairs there are the normal food; popcorn, donuts, cider and ice-cream sandwiches. Bring bills not quarters. The little bake sale area was sorely missed.csIMG_7010 csIMG_7015My street sauntering might finally be over but with a place like Fenner and days like we’re having there is no reason to stop the fall trail sauntering.

A new 18 acre prairie area! csIMG_7043 csIMG_7046

My Walking Marathon

Post dated from October 3, 2013

csIMG_6584According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary one of the definitions of marathon is; “something (such as an event or activity) that lasts an extremely long time or that requires great effort”. I think this very much describes my City Saunter Project. For three years I’ve strategically made my way from Haslett to Lansing and walked on the public streets for a given amount of time. While walking I carried with me my full sized dslr Canon camera, extra lens, notebooks, sometimes water, and my phone (after November 2012). I carried all of these supplies in a messenger bag with Velcro closures. As I walked the motion rubbed my clothing to the level that most of my pants now have a frayed spot on the left thigh. I even bought a new shirt and the metal brackets on the bag wore a mark on this brand new shirt. I wore my way through 5 separate pair of shoes. I think in this last month alone I put 300 miles on my car driving to the south side of Lansing. There were the summer days when I left my kids sitting in front of the television and rushed off to get a few miles in. As I type this, my word counter has just surpassed 10,000 words. I rolled my camera 4 times with probably a quarter to a third of those photos being City Saunter photos. To complete this project by my gallery opening date I really started walking a lot more than normal.  My combined walking for this summer’s months is 200.9597 miles; all the months (years) up to that equal 333.7674. This project of walking every street in Lansing totaled 534.7271 miles walked. On October 3, 2013 I walked the most miles I had ever walked in my life. I did not train. I did not stretch. I really did nothing right yet by the grace of God was I able to walk from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with only a 20 minute break to buy a little food at Meijer. The total for this walk was 29.43 miles. I biked a small amount of this but also neglected to calculate biking from a finished spot back to my car or another walking location. I estimate I also biked another 3-4 miles on top of the walk. A marathon, I walked a marathon! I marked it on my map in orange instead of my typical hot pink highlighter. It’s quite impressive, if you don’t mind me saying. It’s even more impressive if you add in that the weekend before I was bedridden with a fever, sore throat and swollen glands. Yet it was done. Because of that extraordinary feat I was able to complete the project the next day just as I had planned (hoped). 

Some of my finds from this long walk:csIMG_6567 csIMG_6573 csIMG_6585 csIMG_6591

My walks

FirstSecond; Third; Fourth; Fifth; Sixth; Seventh; Eighth; Ninth


csIMG_5459There wasn’t anything different about the walk. I found a safe place to park, unloaded my gear (water, camera, maps, a little food), and began walking another south side neighborhood. However the deeper into the neighborhood I got the more trepidation I had. I had no true reason for it. My “rules” for a safe neighborhood were all met; objects left out in yard (no fear of stealing), no trash (invested homeowner), and nice cars (good wage earners). There wasn’t even anyone out to cause me to feel the anxiety I was having. The farther south and east I walked the greater my apprehension grew. As I walked the neighborhood was changing. The houses became smaller; much smaller, and there was obvious deterioration of the homes. At one point I even called my husband on the verge of tears asking if something had happened at home. I could not get rid of this feeling of fear. I kept walking, being very alert to my surroundings even though no obvious threat was apparent. A few days ago I was having a walking interview with Mary from the Lansing City Pulse. We were talking about scary streets I still need to walk. As we walked south on MLK heading towards Cavanaugh, I pointed across the street to a road called Mary. It’s Cavanaugh on one side and Mary on the other. If you take that street to the end it dead ends into a dirt driveway which used to be my Grandma Nina’s house. I told Mary one time we had visited and someone had shot out every car window on the street. As a child that kind of news is petrifying. To my grandma it was just another day in the neighborhood. It was in her neighborhood that we didn’t walk around; we didn’t really leave her house. Those stories had stuck with me and now as I turned the corner and found myself on Richmond Rd, my grandma’s old road, I realized I had walked from my pleasant, quiet neighborhood right into one of the neighborhoods I feared the most. I pressed on. I still had no true reason to be afraid, not one person caused me any concern. In fact, I think throughout this entire walking I’ve only felt real fear brought on by another person one time and even that was my feelings and not anything the other person said or did. I kept walking, telling myself once I’m done I don’t need to walk this again. I prayed too and had a few friends messaging me on Facebook that elevated my mood. Within a small amount of time I had walked the entire area and the feeling of despair completely left me. I walked a total of 10.65 miles in this area. I ended my last miles over by Waverly Rd. On this last mile I walked passed an elderly couple picking apples off their abundantly healthy tree. They were perplexed by what to do with them all. The woman asked if I would like some. I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and said yes. She handpicked 4 for me. I spent the last part of my walk feeling really thankful, munching on my apple and happy I had fought the urge to give up. csIMG_5449

Ten Day Countdown

csIMG_5252I have just over a week to complete this project, prepare for a gallery exhibit and also continue all my regular work. I took on a photography project and am shooting the “It’s a Breast Thing” on October 1. The day after my gallery opening I also am leading the Scott Kelby Worldwide Walk in REO Town. Last weekend I hosted Peace of Lansing and thought, once that’s done I really can concentrate on City Saunter. Sometimes I laugh at my schedule. I keep thinking, when that’s over I will have so much free time I won’t know what to do with myself. Yet after each event/shoot/project something else gets added to the calendar. I like it that way.csIMG_5264Yesterday I went for a 6 mile walk with a Lansing City Pulse writer. She has been covering my project for about two weeks now, including a sit down interview and our walking interview yesterday. I love hearing people’s excitement and maybe awe when they become familiar with this city journey. It invigorates my excitement for it as well. Look for the article in next week’s publication.csIMG_5261Off to walk now. I really love walking in these cooler, fall days! 

The Walker

csIMG_5246I have roamed a very good chunk of Lansing so far. In miles it has reached over 430. In distance I have walked all of the streets north of the river, east of Pennsylvania and quite a few random neighborhoods everywhere else. I have walked the busiest down town areas and the most desolate country looking roads. I have passed hundreds, if not thousands of people; fellow walkers. I have noticed that many times us walkers are invisible. We are not noticed unless we are stepping out into the pathway of a motorized vehicle or stopping the traffic with the touch of one of those beeping electronic cross walk devices. We walkers notice each other, unless the other passer byer does not choose to notice, however there is then an obvious, head movement or random act of busyness that keeps eye contact to a minimum. After three years of walking however, I don’t allow such nonsense. If they have speakers in their ears I yell hello or wave. If they are trying not to look at me I continue to watch them until they sneak a peek at me and they in turn are presented with my smiling face and a jovial greeting. They always say “hi” back. To my joy many fellow walkers use these same techniques right back at me. The way that I have taken on this project is to walk streets. It’s on these streets that I meet the real walkers, the walkers that need to walk. I sometimes, when I stroll a quiet, peaceful neighborhood, I meet up with exercise walkers. Those are not the types I am referring too. Those type usual end up at a park or the river trail. The folks I mean are these types:

“Living much out of doors, in the sun and wind, will no doubt produce a certain roughness of character — will cause a thicker cuticle to grow over some of the finer qualities of our nature, as on the face and hands, or as severe manual labor robs the hands of some of their delicacy of touch.”

Walking by Thoreau

These are the ones I see, often. They walk because they have no other way to get around from point A to point B, whether point B is a bus stop, a grocery store or some other location. This type of person is not easy to characterize either. I’ve seen nurses, mothers, men in suits, and worn men & women like mentioned above.

csIMG_5120There is a freedom to walking; that is true. There are places that someone on foot can get to that no one else can. There are intricacies seen that only someone walking by may notice. There is an art to walking but it seems to be a skill that few are doing anymore unless they have to.csIMG_5114 csIMG_5248 csIMG_5245 “I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la sainte terre” — to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a sainte-terrer“, a saunterer — a holy-lander. They who never go to the holy land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds, but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all, but the Saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.”

Walking by Thoreau

Thank you for sauntering with me.