This world we live in encourages us to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ as fast as we can. We have no time to dawdle, no time to see the world around us and no time to interact with people. All things that are important in society and to artists.
Driving is the fastest way the average person can get to where they are going. Driving also allows us to take things with us, “in case” we need them. It also keeps people at a distance; it is hard to communicate to another person on the highway through tinted windows. Driving alone has become a shelter to some people and a cage to others. There are people that will drive the 20 ft to their mailboxes or drive 3 or 4 blocks to get to work.
As an artist I walk where ever and when ever I can. I walk so I can see things in this world.
I walk in the summer to see the flowers in bloom, fighting with the concrete and brick for space to grow. I walk and see the people in their summer cloths, squinting into the sun and dancing. People who say hello to everyone they pass on the streets, the light thawing their hearts and letting their light out to compete with the sun.
I walk in the fall to see the leaves change and fall. To see the way the angle of the sun changes how the trees and buildings look. I walk and see how the openness of people changes when the weather is colder. Once happy outgoing people now shrug into their coats and nod as they pass. Their light once again covered by the clouds.
I walk in the winter to see the bones of the forests. The way the light changes and the ingenuity we humans have in creating artificial lights to line the streets. I see the generosity of the people that are warm to the people that have less; their light shining, no matter how dimly, once again.
I walk in the spring when new life starting to find its place amongst the cracks in the sidewalks. I see the businesses become bright and shiny again and people start truly coming out of their winter shells. I see how “new” everything is too many people.
I also see how things remain the same or show age. I see how the new curtains and awning of that shop hide the rusty struts or how the new paint only covers the public facing sides of a building. I see the hope in people’s eyes that this year will be better.
I can see all of this and more, just by taking the time to walk, to see the world around me. You cannot see the world speeding down the highway, taking the road well traveled. You cannot see the world through tinted windows that separate you from the other people on the road.
You cannot connect to the world if you are not willing to take the time to do so.
Go for a walk. Look at the ordinary things. How well maintained is the fire hydrant on your block? Is it red, silver, yellow or blue? Is the paint new? Is there trash around it? How about the street lights?
Go for a walk. Look at nature. Is nature winning and growing out of the sidewalk? Have the birds set upon the wires in an interesting pattern? Is the light hitting something and changing the colors? Did the leaves change color in an interesting way?
Go for a walk. Look at the people. Are they having fun? Wearing interesting cloths? Do the shop owners look happy? Do their goods look good? Are they standing in unusual positions to look at things?
Take a camera, if it will help. You can document your view and refer to them later. The camera will also help you see in a different way.
* ALWAYS ASK people if you plan on using their photos, it is the courteous thing to do and may prevent legal issues later.*
I strongly encourage people to walk. Not because of the health benefits or environmental benefits. I encourage people to walk so they can truly see and experience things.
Go for a walk.