Tag Archives: outside

Winter Walk

aaIMG_9959Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I did something silly today. I weighed myself. It was such a foolish stunt to try so soon after Christmas and two weeks of being pretty much snowed/iced in. I guess the silver lining is it’s not as high as it usually is this time of year. I’m really thankful for those 200 miles of walking I did last September to finish my City Saunter project right about now! I have realized that since I completed my walking project I’ve really missed the walking I was doing. I’m not sure why I didn’t keep it up. Today’s weigh in plus a new lens waiting for me at the East Lansing post office was the perfect incentive for a nice winter walk. I decided to walk the Lansing River Trail starting at the trail head south of Kalamazoo St. It’s one of my favorite locations and not too far from my house.aaIMG_0023Snow covered Bridge on Lansing River Trail ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I was very happy to find that the parking area was plowed and there were three other cars there. I am often amazed by Lansing’s exercising community. After dressing for the adventure, placing my lens in my pockets (I like winter because of the extra pockets!) and ducking into the strap of my camera, I pulled up my mapmyrun app on my phone (boy this is feeling a lot like a City Saunter) and started down the path.  Unfortunately the cleared path was short lived and soon I was trekking through a foot of snow. It must have been a Lansing Township lapse because the trail cleared off again and remained that way for the rest of my walk. Today was still quite chilly. The expected high is 17 but I think the wind chill is still pretty close to zero. I would have been just fine except I had forgotten to put on long john’s and I kept taking my gloves off to take photos. Even so, I was able to walk 3 miles in the woods on the river trail.aaIMG_9892 Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River  ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9906Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I have always loved the serenity of a winter walk. I love to cross country ski and would head out to Lake Lansing North and ski the trails. There are not nearly as many people out this time of year and many times you are the only one. On this walk I only past two others, both runners. For much of this walk I was alone. On the way back I actually became numb and the cold no longer bothered me. I found myself wading into the deeper snow for better photos and even stopping and listening to the sounds. Even though there weren’t any people out there I found quite a few animals out and about. At one point I was hearing this loud rustling sound and couldn’t figure it out. Finally I looked up and there were squirrels in the tree tops scurrying about.aaIMG_0002Squirrel in trees on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I also found woodpeckers and ducks.aaIMG_9978  Woodpecker in tree on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9942Ducks in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9925Duck in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

A friend of mine who recently moved to Ludington posted on Facebook the quote: “No such thing as bad weather…. just bad gear.” I think I would have to agree with him. We live in a gorgeous land, where we have different environments all the time. I think it’s a shame not to enjoy them.aaIMG_9939Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

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Too Festive to Falter

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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.

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In Summary

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I have been finding it very difficult to begin, let alone finish this blog post. How does one write a post that summarizes a three year project? It started out as a simple walking project. Somewhere along the journey it changed. I changed. It started as a show and tell; look at Old Town, now let me tell you about it. Here’s Hawk Island, let me tell you about it. Somehow, though, you let me get personal. You let me tell you about my deceased brother and our adventurous childhood in north Lansing. You let me express my heartache that comes with a grandmother aging out of her matriarchal position in a family.  You let me tell you about people I admired. You let me express great excitement with events and festivals. You put up with all the photos of my twins.

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You followed me as I traveled through your streets, around your neighborhoods, and into your businesses. When I began to get attention from media, or a photograph was purchased, or I was asked to join in on something great, you cheered me on. Then as I was coming to the end I needed support for my gallery, and you all came through on that too! I sit here in a gorgeous turn of the century space with 32 framed pieces of art on the walls, four of which have little sold signs under them. I have my LSJ article framed as well as the Capital Gains article written by my friend Suban. I also have a pile of The Lansing City Pulse sitting on a table with my photo on the cover.

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So let me tell you about Lansing. Lansing is my home. It’s filled with people I love, admire, trust, respect and believe in. It has mom & pop and farm to table. It has urban gardens and Land Bank restorations. It has local celebrities that aren’t afraid to wear a pair of red and white striped socks or don a suit to be auctioned off for charity. It has sports teams and races (dirty, marathon, or colorful). It has green enthusiasts (Sweaty Mouse, Mid-MEAC, Walk & Bike Lansing) and the Blues (Blues Fest, The Root Doctor). There is such an excitement for entertainment and fun that holidays are invented and created here; Plaidurday, Capital City Dragonboat Races, Vacant, Peace of Lansing. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here that pairs up alongside the corporate world creating this wonderful ebb and flow.  It houses a captivating Capitol building that spurs conversation and debate. This is Lansing, Michigan sitting dead center in the palm of my right hand that I forever will clutch to my heart. Thank you Lansing!  #lovelansing

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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.

Lifting the Fog

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When snowfall and thunderstorms meet on a crazy night in mid Michigan it creates fog; dense, thick fog. I was so captivated by its etherealness I decided to go walk in it. My house sits in a bit of a gully, between multiple hills. I joke, but to get to my house from any direction you have to go uphill and then downhill. My walk to Meijer is literally uphill both ways and I’m not saying that in a Parks and Rec kind of way. It takes a while for the snow to melt around our house, even on a 50 degree day. Yesterday was no exception. All around my house and yard was this super thick fog yet as I drove to Lansing the fog became thinner and more sporadic. I realized the melting snow had ended any hope of walking and photographing the fog. However due to a few events there was still a very odd feel to this walk. The first was a horrific car crash that happened on I-496. The accident itself occurred at around 7:00 a.m., however as I drove past at around 11:00 a.m. the entire 5 lane highway was abandoned. The only thing on the highway was the 5 crashed cars and a completely burned out 6th car. Two police cars were positioned to block any car that might have made it onto the highway that somehow got through multiple road blocks further up. There were no movements. Had I not read about the crash on line I would have been really shocked by this scene. However knowing that a life had been lost in this tragic crash also left me feeling quite upset by having passed it.
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found at the corner of Donora and Mt. Hope. The letter is written from a son whose father was tragically killed.

Then on my exit off the highway I came right up alongside one of the folks that ask for money. Whether their decision to stand there comes from true need or some type of scam, seeing them there often saddens me. I still get tears thinking about last Thanksgiving when our entire family, dressed in our fancy clothes, and joyously talking to each other about the great meal we were about to consume at grandma’s house drove by this woman on the side of the road. Her sign read; “Pregnant and homeless, please help”. It wasn’t so much what her sign said as it was the day in which she stood there. Here it was a holiday of thanksgiving, a day to be grateful. And here she stood all alone, in the cold. Didn’t she have family? Did she have no one to cook for her? The sadness overwhelmed me and I burst into tears. We drove back around the corner and my husband got out and handed her $5 after I insisted we do something. Maybe I played into the game. Maybe I should have had a stiff upper lip and told her to go learn to fish instead of handing her one. I couldn’t. I wanted her to know that someone cared. I wanted her to know that someone saw her and acknowledged her on this Thanksgiving Day.
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So here again, I sat for a seemingly endless time trying to avoid the gaze of this man, praying for him and hoping he could find what he needed.
My final unusual event was actually a positive one. As I walked along my walk, finishing off sections of a neighborhood I mostly had walked before, disappointed by my inability to capture gorgeous, foggy photos, I found a hidden treasure. I’d heard of them before and had no idea I was sauntering my way towards one. Up ahead of me amongst a sea of browns and dismal grays sat a large mailbox, practically glowing in bright rainbow colors.
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Except it wasn’t just any ordinary mailbox. It was a library! I had stumbled across a Little Free Library!
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This little gem completely changed my mood. It reminded me quite a lot of my Finding Rainbows blog.
So today’s moral is; lift the fog. Look around you and find the joys, even the little ones. Be aware of those around you. Pay attention to those in need. Can you help? Did you try? Lift the fog and enjoy life! Grieve the losses as it makes you appreciate what you have all the more. And when something really great comes along, revel in your blessing then reach in and grab at it.
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Winter Walks

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It’s around this time of year I start noticing those who begrudgingly reside in Michigan. They greatly enjoy the temperate springs, lavishly sunny summers and moderately warm falls. However when winter comes they absolutely loath the cold. It’s hard for me to understand this. I feel the temperate spring only seems so because of the frigid winters. Then the moderate fall can only exist and cause so much excitement because we all know what’s right around the corner. A true Michigan winter is the gauge we use to extract the gifts of the other seasons. I love Michigan winters; love them. I love the snow. I love the winter sports. I love the bulky clothes and furry boots. I enjoy the warming drinks and romantic fires. I love walking outside and hearing the cold; the snow crunching, the tree branches chinking together, the air forming physically around you. It feels clean and sanitized. It’s amazing. I also enjoy walking my walks in the winter. I often get asked if I walk year round and yes I do. The winters are some of my favorite walks. I find these winter walks to be filled with peace and tranquility as I am often the only walker. Even today, as I walked a very urban neighborhood the loudest noises came from birds. I only came across one pedestrian, an elderly man who was walking to the bus stop. I offered pleasantries as I waited to cross the street and we both extended hopes of staying warm when the cold snap finally arrives this weekend. We haven’t had a true cold snap in over 2 years. If all works out as planned this deliciously cold winter will create the most abundance of flowers in the spring.
My walk.

At it Again!

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I am usually not a procrastinator. I tend to get things done as quickly as I am able. When I was in school I would sit on the bus, knees propped up on the seat in front of me, homework on my lap. It would be completed by the time I got off the bus. Yes, I was that type of girl. My walking for the months of November and December was anemic. It began with a single day delay, which then led to a week of deference. This provided the base for a couple more weeks of inaction. Ultimately I would look back and realize I’d put off walking for almost a month. This hiatus was unintended yet there it was. I had planned to do quite a bit of walking over the winter break; so much walking that I had hoped to complete this project this spring. Ambitious but I thought it would be feasible. Recently, though, I’ve had a change of plans. This change was not entirely because I didn’t think I could get it done, because I think I could. This change happened because I had a meeting with an art gallery manager. Amy Wellington is the new creative manager at Art Alley. Art Alley is located in REO Town and provides a non-traditional studio space for local creatives to display their art. I had thought that having a gallery presentation of my City Saunter photography that corresponded to the completion of this project would be a wonderful way to bring it an end. After speaking with Amy and Diane Wilson, the out-going Creative Director, they not only loved the idea of my project but would be delighted to showcase my photos; in October. Sometimes, what you are offered in life works out a lot better than what you had hoped for. This new schedule gives me the opportunity to not rush the last sections. It allows me time to put together my strongest pieces. It will also allow me the time to find sponsors to pay for this display. I will be coming up with some creative activities and sponsorship packages to make this a worthwhile venture for anyone willing to donate. After three full years of working on this grand idea to walk all the streets of Lansing, I will reach the end October 1, 2013.

Contact me if you are interested in being a sponsor for my Art Alley Exhibit.

On Top of the World

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The end of every year is a flurry of activity. We have the multiple day Christmas celebrations, which may include at least one day before and or after the actual day. Sometimes, if it’s a crazy busy year we might even have a celebration the week before. Then the fifth day after Christmas is my birthday. This is what I call the eve, of the eve of the New Year. For over a decade now I’ve celebrated the eve of the eve with my in-law siblings. We usually take in a movie, most times a meal as well. It’s always a good time. However, by the time I get my thinking back it’s the last day of the year and I’ve made no plans; never! We try to make plans but nothing culminates. This year we had a set of good coupons; Free Biggby Coffee, $10 Kohl’s bucks and $10 off from a $30 purchase at World Market. What a better way to end the year than with free stuff!! Unfortunately the stress of trying to fit it all in with two kids that haven’t eaten a balanced meal in a week, overwhelmed us. By the time we got home the grown-ups were annoyed with each other. Being self employed means you get to decide when you don’t work but also allows you to work on a normal holiday. So off Pat went to work.

Fine.

I then decided to take the twins on my last walk for the year. Nothing too much, maybe we could find a park. I checked out the map and sure enough there was Poxson Park. I could walk the streets while they played.
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After playing on a giant climbing rock for about an hour Ellie finally made it to the top and yells out as loudly as she can; “I’m on top of the world!!!!” She has so much excitement; so much happiness; so freeing. Her youthful voice echoed off every house in the neighborhood. At first I thought to hush her; don’t bother the neighbors. Then I was like, forget that! I wanted everyone to know that I’d dragged my kids out of the safety and warmth of our house and we were playing. We were laughing as we formed palm-sized snowballs and chased each other around that fake boulder. After a good snowball fight we then went for a walk through the park. When we made it back to the car they made mini snowmen to take home and begged me to make them hot cocoa as soon as we got home.
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I am so grateful that they never let me forget that I really am on top of the world.
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Happy, Happy New Year everyone!
Check out our walk

First to 500


Almost three weeks ago I woke up very early, 4 a.m. in fact to arrive at the staging area for Dirty Feat, Lansing’s very own adventure race. I had been asked by one of the coordinators to come in and photograph the eight hour event. There I stood among 174 participants each decked out in sporty outfits, bike helmets, head lamps, little biking packs and their sturdy bikes. Within an hour all had been checked in and were anxiously waiting to receive their maps to start their adventure. Yes, that’s right, this group of 87 pairs paid $60 each to participate in a race that started at 6 a.m. and they had no clue where they were going! As the buzzer sounded and all the teams took off running to their first two check in spots, Jeff Smith, one of the coordinators, looked at me with a smile and told me how much work went into this event, including a no sleep night before prep, and how anti climatic the start was. We both watched lines of Dirty Featers running around out on the streets in front of us. I said yes that might be true but you were able to get 174 people to pay to show up on a Saturday morning and bike, run and canoe for the next 8 hours. His smile back to me was priceless. He did do that, with some help of course, and he knew he did that.

Maybe it’s the ease of connectivity through resources like Facebook, Twitter and websites that make putting together events much, much easier. Essentially you can have a really great idea and share it with your “friends” to get needed support, attendees and any other essential needs. Basically City Saunter was exactly that. I had an idea and I saw a need. I created graphics and content and put it all out there for others to cheer me on. However there is one more step that needs to take effect and that’s the active part of the idea. It’s one thing to get people to say, wow that’s a great idea, but to take it to the action stage is another thing. It takes a lot of effort to make it worth the time for someone to read your blog or look at your photos or participate in an event. Recently a friend of mine, Justin Caine of Good Fruit and one of the participants of Dirty Feat started one of these “completely made up, but because you posted it to Facebook and people are getting involved it’s now real”, events. He is calling it First to 500. I saw it on my feed a couple of weeks ago and was definitely interested. I pulled up the event page and read the details. In essence all those that wish to participate will start keeping track of all of their exercise from July 1 to September 30, 2012 and the person that reaches 500 points first wins. The points are given out for the different types of exercise you do; e.g. swimming a mile is 8 points, walking/running a mile is 2 points, biking a mile is 1 point and workout tapes or weight lifting for an hour is 2 points. He even has a friend who is volunteering to keep track of all our points as we earn them. At this point there are 37 people actively working out to earn points for a competition that wasn’t in existence three weeks ago. Now I’m the type of person that doesn’t shy away from working out, which is obvious since I’ve taken it upon myself with my own project to walk all 400 miles of streets in Lansing, Michigan to help promote and improve the area. However I was surprised at how much this competition just plugged right into my desire for a challenge. I’ve never felt the urge to compete this much, ever. Maybe it’s hanging out with all these adventure racers. Maybe it’s watching people, like Justin who suffered an incredible set back at such a young age as he gets back up over and over and pushes himself to new levels. Not only does he push himself but he encourages the rest of us to join him. I find that to be an incredible motivator.

My Route Today
Biking in
Walking Lansing
Biking Home

Multi-Tasking


A recent article flittering its way through Facebook land had the audacity of proclaiming the ineffectualness of multitasking. Even with a quick Google search I found multiple articles claiming the death of multitasking. What once was considered a skill is now looked at as doing multiple things mediocrely.  I’m thinking that this is a media no news story. How many people really do one thing at a time? I don’t even think I could. I have always been a multi-doer. Many days I have a running chat window going with someone while I edit photos or write a blog or work on design projects. I’ve been known to dictate a list to my husband while we drive. With the twins out of school for the summer I often find myself writing blogs on a notebook while watching them swim in the pool. Today was the king of multi-doing. Today I would drive the twins (and their bikes) into town, park at their grandparents, let them ride their bikes on streets I need to cover for City Saunter. We will eventually make our way to the park at the front of Scott’s Woods to play for a bit. Afterwards we will continue on non Sauntered streets until I reach a section that I also need to take notes on for the Lansing Walkability Audit. And in my perfect world the twins will be hydrated, fed and eager to assist me with my measuring and observing. Ahhhh genius! I’ll give you all a moment to get a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes.

First off it took an extra hour to hook the car-bike-contraption thing onto the car. It is now noon. We didn’t eat lunch but we did have a late breakfast. I decide to go anyway. Twenty minutes later we arrive in Lansing at Grandma and Grandpa O’Meara’s house. Grandma’s not home, but Grandpa greets us and sends us on our way. The kids on their bikes are the perfect way for them to travel while I walk. We don’t usually get very far if I make them walk. On their bikes they don’t even complain when we go down one block and turn around to head up another street. They easily make their way through the neighborhood listening obediently to instructions to stop and look for cars. Using my map to successfully navigate our way we make it to the park successfully. After a short stay we were off again. I knew at this time it would have been best to make our way straight back to the car. I didn’t. I pushed one last task onto our little group of travelers. Out onto Pennsylvania Ave. I pulled out two clip boards stuffed with papers and instructions.  We began check boxing specific information about intersections and sidewalks. I really had hoped that using the measuring tape to measure the ramps at every intersection on a busy street would have been a blast for the kids. It was not. We completed about 3 intersections and two blocks of sidewalks on the odd side before the twins had their melt down. It’s fine. We were at Pacific and I hadn’t walked that street yet. In a few blocks we were at my in-laws’ street. The twins made the turn and were heading the last three blocks to their house. My dilemma was walking one more block to connect my Pacific walk and complete that section or stay with the twins. I’d watched the twins carefully make their way in this neighborhood for over an hour. Despite not being use to riding bikes in neighborhoods, I trusted that they’d be just fine. They turned left and I quickly continued walking the last block of Pacific. Alone I was able to really enjoy the last length of the walk but my true peace didn’t hit until a saw two bikes, one boy and one girl, parked out in front of grandma and grandpa’s house.