You can find the map for today’s 5.7-mile walk here. 11 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.
I was so lazy today. I really did nothing at all and it was so wonderful. I just meandered through the neighbourhood, enjoying the sun. The biggest decision I had to make all day was which flavour of ice lolly to buy.
The guy at the café helped me break it down by categorising them (milk vs. water-based), removing the flavour I knew I didn’t want (watermelon) and giving me the pros and cons of the remaining fruits so I could make an informed decision.
I finally settled on strawberry.
I love strawberries.
When I was a kid I loved them so much that I named by cat Strawberry, my five-year old logic being: I love strawberries and I love her…let’s call her Strawberry!
We travelled to California a lot at that time too, and we’d always stay at the Big A Motel (which, shockingly, still exists!). In the 7-11 next door they always had strawberry fruit bars, and they were the first thing I begged my dad for the minute we got there. I loved those things so much.
Turns out they still do the trick for me.
Other than that very important decision, I didn’t do much apart from chat with a street sweeper and take lots of photos of flowers.
I’ve always had a thing for flowers (you may have noticed from my excitement about them during these walks). When I go through my holiday photos, half of them tend to be close-ups of blossoms. I’m lucky to have a boyfriend who is into them too. We spend a lot of time with our cameras in their faces when we travel. I love it.
Part of it for me is the colour (you probably also noticed by now that I have a thing with colour). Even if I just spent ten minutes taking a photo of a bright pink blossom, I can turn around and find another one that is a slightly darker shade and feel compelled to spend ten minutes photographing that one too.
Apart from the colour though, I just love flowers in general. I grew up gardening every weekend with my parents and grandma (and when I say “gardening” I mean I Strawberry and I played in the dirt while the grown ups did all the work).
Even when I was small, I was a contributing member of the gardening household in many ways though. I had my very own vegetable garden where I grew tiny tomatoes that I ate off the vine in the summer, dirt and all. I helped my parents build our garden’s patios and walkways, dutifully handing my dad tools when he asked for them, like a surgical assistant who took her job far too seriously. I walked up and down our stream splashing cold water up my legs to make myself shiver.
My parents’ yard is still the best refuge I can imagine on a rough day. If the rose garden isn’t working for you, the wildflower beds might do the trick. Barring that, sitting on the deck by the pond and listening to the aspens quake is guaranteed to calm even the most frantic of souls.
I grew up and became much more useful in the yard. I learned how to do all the fancy things like build retaining walls to make perfect beds and install drip systems so the plants don’t dry out in the hot desert air. In the process, I have come to love plants more and more all the time. I have a tendency to interact with them on a pretty personal level. That is to say, I talk to them a lot.
Once when I was getting off the train to work, my boss happened to get off of the same carriage before I saw him. He caught me sniffing the flowers, chatting with them about the beautiful day and running my hands through the leaves as I made my way into the office.
He teased me relentlessly.
His philosophy was that it was great to notice them once, then you can tick that box – you’ve seen them now – and do something else next time. But I totally disagree. Flowers are different every time. They change slowly but they change constantly. Like that Ok Go song, White Knuckles, “Nothing ever doesn’t change, but nothing changes much.”
It is not even verging on hyperbole to say that I spent almost all of my waking hours outdoors in the summer as a kid (and still find myself doing it often as an adult). It’s pretty clear from this project that I still have a strong desire to be outside, but I really miss gardening specifically.
I love planting flowers, planning out the beds, digging the little guys a new home and settling them into it with a little love and a lot of water. I really enjoy the process of caring for plants.
Even though I have a yard here, I don’t seem to get the chance to be in it much. My problem is, as soon as I get started, I want to be out there all day, getting dirt under my nails (I don’t believe in gloves) and I have simply not had the time with all that’s been going on. Once these walks are done I am looking forward to some lazy breakfasts in the grass and some Saturday mornings pulling weeds.
It’s not long until that day comes either. Only 10 walks left to post (and 5 more to walk!). I can’t believe it’s almost over.
11 days until the Congestion Zone Ends Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.
Quick update from the future: now that this project is finished, I’m off on another adventure! Keep in touch on my new blog at Three Miles an Hour. See you there!