Walk a Mile In My Shoes.
You’ve heard it before, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”. It’s believed the earliest usage came from the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans.
Also, Nelle Harper Lee, an American authoress, seemingly was inspired by the saying of the American Indians in her book “To Kill a Mockingbird”, where she wrote, “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
A mile is 5,280 feet in length, about 16 city blocks and roughly 2,000 footsteps. The distance may seem long to many or short, it depends on your point of view.
When it is 108 degrees Fahrenheit walking through the Mojave Desert it can seem very long.
This past weekend I set upon an idea to walk a mile from my house to see what I could see. And although I have walked many times in the area, the idea this time was to try and gain a different perspective and view those things I would see as an explorer or adventurer might, in other words to really see and observe them.
The hope was then, and is now, to ask you to do the same. Pick a day, open your front door and go for a short mile walk. See what you can see. Observe what you can, feel what you can feel and then report back to me by sending your story and corresponding pictures.
It does not really matter where you live or where you are at the time, I can promise you that if you will do the above, you will see not only your own neighborhood or other place of travel in a new and different light but you might experience something you never have before.
Art of Adventure is based in Southern Nevada, right smack dab in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Temperatures in this area have recently ranged between 100 -112 degrees. Leaving around 2 pm in the afternoon with a Smart-phone for a camera and a bottle of water I decided to document my mile adventure with a few photographs and see if I could observe things from a different perspective.
For the record, I realize the photos below are not that great. I could barely see the phone screen for the glare and uploading of the pictures did not work out as planned.
But the point of the this story is to show you what I saw and share it with you, hoping you might do the same.
So here it is, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Despite what others may think, the desert is not a barren landscape devoid of life and beauty. The desert is full of life with plants and wildlife galore. Although at this time of year and during mid-day most desert creatures are well out of site trying to stay cool.
Here is picture number one. This is a creosote bush with the desert and Spring Mountains in the background. A good start right?
What is a desert without cactus? Here is a nice group of Mojave Mound Cactus.
Here is a mini Stonehenge like Red Sandstone Pillar. Who knows how long this has been standing this way and how it got here.
Want to see where a desert tortoise lives? Here is the burrow of this endangered species. It’s a good place to stay out of the heat.
Here is a large ant hill. Likely a Fire Ant abode with all inside this time of day avoiding the heat.
This is a Barrel Cactus. The barrel cactus will grow from one to four feet tall and may live anywhere from 20 to 30 years.
Here is a bush (not sure what kind) with blooming flowers, rare this time of year.
It is because of the apparent beauty and wildness of the Southwestern Deserts that thousands upon thousands, even millions of people have and are continuing to move there.
It is not enough for some people to move to the desert and live in a non-environmentally threatening way, but many want to transform the desert into the same environment they came from.
They want freeways, Wal-Mart’s, fences and every other semblance of convenience and modernization they had in their prior hometown. It is one thing to live in harmony with the desert and another to transform it into something that it’s not and never will be. These are a few things that “civilization” has brought to the Mojave.
Here is a transplanted and lone Yucca next to a freeway, planted in a huge landscape of non-native crushed rock. There it is completely out of its ideal element. There were dozens of these in this fake desert landscape that are now dead because they cannot survive this type of treatment.
Who would expect a Horse Bridge going over a 6 lane freeway? Here it is at millions of dollars of taxpayer expense. For the record, I have never seen a horse and rider on it in all the years since its construction. Can you blame a horse for not wanting to travel across it?
A credit repair sign in the Mojave Desert? Really? I know things are tough for some of the coyotes out there, but do they really need credit repair?
The desert is for sale, want some? This is just another sign of the times in the desert southwest. No pun intended.
Many humans just plain suck. Here are some prime examples of the disrespect and blatant disregard for the environment and our planet these “people” can inflict.
The desert is a dry environment and as such there is little breakdown of materials left as trash. These things left in the desert could well be here in a thousand years or more. Maybe they will be relics or collectibles for future generations, a testament to how the ancient race of beings who once lived here consisted of half men, half pig.
How long do you think this pile of trash will last?
Need some good reading? Here are some trashed books conveniently laid out for you.
Here is a great place for some plastic sewer pipe. Think future generations will treasure it?
Well, there you have it. You walked a mile in my shoes on a hot day in the Mojave Desert. You were able to experience the good, the bad and the ugly. I hope you benefited by it in at least some small way.
Now Walk a Mile in Your Shoes
We all have a story to tell and I want to hear yours. A mile is a short distance, but with the eye of an adventurer and explorer you will be greatly surprised at what you can see and experience in your own neighborhood with this short walk.
Whether you live in the city, suburbs or out in the sticks, there is a one mile adventure story for you to experience and to tell the story of.
So I challenge you to do so. Pick a day, go out your front door or wherever you may be, choose any direction and walk a mile. Look around you, try and see what you’ve never seen before. Think about it and ponder what is happening on your piece of the planet.
Take your smart phone or digital camera and shoot a bunch of pictures. Then write about your experience. Select 5-10 photos that are representative of your walk and e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I intend to publish those that are the most sincere and help us to understand the one mile world in which they live. I’m not looking for perfect prose (there really is no such thing), just the best you can do. I just want to get to know you and what you think about your own neighborhood, why it is unique and a place worth exploring or knowing.
Again, E-Mail me here, at email@example.com to submit your story or if you have any questions. All “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” submissions that are published will receive a nice reward. Not sure what that will be at this point, but you will have to trust me on that one.
Oh and by the way here is my final shot from my walk. I want to leave you with a good impression. The desert really is a beautiful place, especially when you are looking at it with a explorers eye.
Explore the Adventurous Life – Go Walk a Mile in Your Shoes
Let us know what you think, leave a comment above.