Street St, Anoka, MN

| Wednesday, January 25, 2012

from flickr user Matt Peterson!
The photographer says: In my youth, I walked past this sign every day on my way to school, from kindergarten all the way through 9th grade. So from age 5 to age 15, 10 years, this sign was a passive fixture in my life.

In school, there were walkers, and bussers. In my early school years I was officially deemed a walker by the zones established by the school. A few years later they changed the zones, and I was then eligible to ride a bus to school.

But I didn't want to ride the bus. I wanted to walk, so I never rode the bus.

I've never really thought about any of this much in recent years until I took this photo a few weeks ago. I took the photo because I've always thought it was funny that a street would be named "Street St.", but my reaction when looking at the photo isn't, "hey, that's funny."

No, oddly my reaction was reminiscence. It reminded me of the huge amounts of time I spent walking. Walking and thinking. When you walk you think. You look at stuff and sometimes you think about that. Sometimes you think about stuff that happened in school. You think about friends, you think about family.

The thinking done while walking is maybe a bit different than the thinking you do while sitting or driving. When you walk your heart rate increases. You have all sorts of sensory input from smells to sights and sounds. In winter you have to be careful so you don't slip on ice. In spring you need to watch out for puddles after a rain. In autumn you get the lovely crunching sound from stepping on fallen leaves. All of this feeds your thoughts, and heightens the enjoyment of thinking. Walking and thinking.

Now I'm an adult and just like my parents did, I drive to work. Driving to work doesn't bring me the same kind of fulfillment that walking to school did. The smells and sounds and sights whiz by so fast you barely notice. No, driving isn't the same at all.

Yep, the sign is kinda funny. But what it really does for me is remind me that I love to be alive. I love to be in nature. And I love to walk.

Oh, and I'd love to be a carefree 5-15 year old again as well, but I'll settle for going on a nice walk from time to time.