My dog Winston is a six year old mutt, weighing in at ~100 pounds with the energy and stamina of an athlete. The two of us have weathered many storms, both literally and figuratively, since our fateful meeting in March of 2018. My former partner and I offered to "foster" one of my sister's dog Karma's puppies, and as they say, "famous last words!". Much to my own surprise, I fell hard and fast for this guy. I was never really a pet person and honestly, I still wouldn't consider myself one, but I certainly am a Winston person.
At the start of 2020, in the throes of the pandemic and the depths of a painful breakup, Winston and I developed a walking routine that became a form of therapy. We were living in the spare bedroom at my mom's for a few months, where we walked the empty streets of downtown Detroit, the Riverfront, and Dequindre Cut. Remember, in the beginning times... when walking and being outdoors was our only option for socializing too?
Later that year Winston and I moved to my construction zone of a flat on the east side. That winter we had the privilege and proximity to cross Mack Avenue and walk for miles, admiring the Grosse Pointe mansions and sprawling lawns undisturbed by law enforcement, erratic vehicles, or nosy neighbors. During the day we would walk over to the street I grew up on, where my grandmother still lives, to walk her idiotic rat-dog Hunter.
In 2022 I pressed the redo button on a number of things, picked up and moved to Philadelphia, 600 miles away from home. Winston is not impressed by the concrete jungle, but I make up for the absence of grass in volume of steps. We walk far, exploring the nooks and crannies of Philly, where the narrow streets, short blocks, and grid layout make it easy and magical to get lost while still knowing where you are.
Beyond the therapeutic benefits of our walks, I often have my best ideas while walking (i.e. this blog series), and, obviously, there are numerous health benefits. I am a cyclist, transit user (and nerd), city government employee, urbanist, observer, and ultimate people watcher. Walking gives me so much perspective about people, history, design and politics. By the end of my walk I often have fully developed theories, a book idea, or a film script already written in my head.
So, this is my place for that. Walk with Winston and I as a share my thoughts about places, spaces, current events, people I admire, and I guess we'll see where our walks take us.