Find A Trail. Start Your Search Here:

Monday, March 30, 2020

Urban Wilderness

Urban Wilderness
Dreaming of Doe Mountain in Sedona, but staying home.
Fay Canyon in Flagstaff is on my post-crisis to-do list
Four blocks from my house, there’s a yard with the most gorgeous hollyhocks.  I must have walked my dogs past the little bungalow dozens of times on our 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. walks, but the hollyhocks never caught my attention.  A few homes down the street, chickens scratched the ground behind a non-descript brick home. African daisies bobbed among aloe vera plants in a weedy space between an alley and a median.  For the more than 20 years I’ve lived and walked in my Central Phoenix historic neighborhood, these details were lost among doggie poop pick up stops, rogue chihuahua encounters and occasional chats with neighbors who happened to be out and about at my fringy walking hours.  Most of the homes in my corner of Downtown are old, some coming up on 100 years in age, and encompass architectural styles that include, among others, Tudor, Hacienda, Territorial, Art Moderne, English bungalows and a few new-builds that made attempts at replicating the neighborhood’s historic vibe with varying degrees of success.
Dreaming of Bill Williams Mtn Trail, but not now.
It took the COVID-19 pandemic for me to fully appreciate the diversity and weathered beauty of where I live. 
Billy Creek in the White Mountains, can't wait to get back.
Prior to the new reality of social distancing, my weeks were defined by a full time, Monday through Friday job, a Saturday hike and Sundays doing house and yard work, and those dawn-dusk walks.  Things have temporarily changed.
Even though most hiking trails are open for business, I’ve made the decision to forfeit my weekend excursions to avoid adding to the headaches of our already overburdened healthcare workers and first responders.  Of course, missing my weekly trips to explore new trails and places across Arizona has been tough. I miss it terribly. It’s as if a part of my brain shut down.
The void is blacker than I ever expected. Hiking is a big part of my life and its abrupt removal from my weekly rhythm feels like losing a limb.
As a hiker, risk-taking is part of my world view. And yet, these are not normal times. Choices are no longer individual, they are collective. I’m not willing to put others risk for my personal satisfaction.
To keep my wanderlust under control, I’m hiking familiar sidewalks close to home, crossing streets when others approach and not worrying that I’ll get lost or seriously injured while doing so. It’s the same fresh air and mental health benefits I’d get on a trail. While sidewalks may not provide the challenge of trails, rediscovering the treasures of my urban wilderness has been enlightening.  Also, I made some really bad paintings from some of my old trail photos.

1 comment:

jackie said...

This is exactly what I'm doing, now I will try drawing! Thank you!