It’s all plaid to me.

DAY 203 / 1381 MILES

One question on the list from my post “So Many Questions Grasshopper” concerns, Most interesting vs. Most boring. Specifically, where is a walker most likely to encounter the unexpected just around the next curve? Although I haven’t arrived at the station yet, I now realize the answer is clear. Having walked nearly all our rural environs, industrial zones, institutional campi, and areas of commerce, I’m in the habitat’s heart now. What’s left to walk is almost exclusively residential. Within the city’s living quarters, there are 8 zone classifications which dictate the density of dwellers permitted within a given space. Starting out, I expected zoning would be the biggest driver determining a walker’s delight. To my surprise, it seems there’s an inverse relation between poverty and affluence when it comes to how tantalizing a residential section is, as measured by feel, appearence, and it’s people. No disparagement intended but, the more monied the hood, the more mind numbing the monotony. Stable posh enclaves tend to be endless Escher landscapes of suburban Bradydom perched on Disney-esque lawns. Unfortunately Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marsha, Jan, and Cindy rarely play outside anymore. For that matter, Mike, Carrol, and Alice are mostly AWOL too. It seems the higher the digs, the more of a fur lined cage the home becomes. While weekend walking in three large upscale burbs I observed only 6 (or less) people within each, outside enjoying fall weather. There’s a near absence of people outside of the temperature zone and away from their screens. It’s the internet (I think) that acts as an autoclave which sterilizes warrens of their residents. Honestly, the “nicer” the neighborhood I walked through the more I felt I was playing Jim Carey’s role in The Truman Show. (Unfortunately, the most interesting sights in the environs of the well heeled were the aftermaths of Idalia). I observed that the more modest the neck of a particular wood, the more people I encountered and the more greetings I exchanged.

Within the stable (older) subdivisions, variability in architecture ranges mostly between the ubiquitous ranch and the split level with a few gems that fall into one of two categories of either Franken-tecture, or that which would make the other Frank (Loyd Wright) proud. While striding through new neighborhoods I noticed the split level and ranch designs have lurched away to a style thats a bit schizophrenic, by combining every architectural style with every type of building material available. (A sort of Tudor-Craftsman-Farm-Colonial-Georgian-Victorian-Cracker style, with brick-board & baton-ship lap-stucco-vinyl-stacked stone and novelty siding, capped with a metal-shingle-shake, and terracotta roof…kind of mash up). The one caveat to the visual interest of the ritzy enclaves, are the uber-ritzy gated communities where the proletariat walker is forbidden (The gates work as designed to keep vehicles out; walkers, not so much). I couldn’t help gawking like a Clampet, first time rattling through the gates of Bever-lee (Hills, that is).  These rarified residential havens are replete with hotel scale homes that lead one to ponder “if I win the Power-Ball this week, will I build a castle too…just because I can?” I also wondered, how soon after moving into a behemoth does the tug to down size begin to creep in? Oh well, in the end, its not for me to contemplate, much less find out.

Quote of the week: “What we get from adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat to be able to make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for”.      George Mallory  –  English mountaineer who participated in the first three British Mount Everest expeditions.

Lets go for a walk.

**Thanks again (and again) to all who have contributed to the Suwannee Riverkeeper via this site.**