After running every single day for four years I took a break from running. I could name a lot of reasons for that – none of them good ones. There was a theme emerging in my life; a strong desire to slooooow it down. I was traveling a lot, my husband Matt even more. Work, family, life… it just felt like too much, too fast.
I was inspired by Rickey Gates, a fabulous runner and storyteller who ran every single street in San Francisco, when I decided to take on every single street in Northeast Portland, Oregon where I live. This time though, I would take it slow, walking instead of running and would go with Matt, instead of alone. Like it is said: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
On our very first long walk, as we were dipping our toe into the project, we walked down a fairly busy street we’d driven, biked and run down what is likely to have been perhaps 1000 times. During that walk we saw so many things we’d never seen before; garden sculptures, questionable architecture, porch cats. We were aware, awake, noticing… stopping and pausing to admire or inquire, and having one of the longest, uninterrupted conversations we’d had in years. We were hooked.
But going together means being together and Matt’s travel schedule as a performing musician was relentless. We were getting our walks in as best we could when we were together, slowly chipping away at the map, when the pandemic hit.
We’re able to walk most days now, usually accompanied by our three dogs, and I take photos of, well… a lot of things. We are disciplined and consistent about it but we pause and reflect and question too. Sometimes we play improv word games, or sing song snippets, and laugh, a lot.
There are thousands of miles of residential streets and amazing alleys in Northeast, Portland. We’re getting to know every single one of them, one at a time.