Desire paths speak of possibility. All animal paths are desire paths; so were the first roads, shaped by nothing more than a common urge to join one place to another. The poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts write that desire paths “begin over time, imperceptibly, gathering definition as people slowly recognise and legitimise the footfall of their peers.” It’s been suggested that fifteen journeys are all that’s required to begin a fresh way, to introduce new shapes to the built environments we live in. Where the designed way is often straight and rectilinear, the desire path bends and flows. It offers grace rather than instruction.
Paved roads show us where we ought to go, but desire paths are made when we step off the road and let our hearts decide the way. They seek out the most direct connection between where we are and where we wish to be. Worn by the pressure of passing feet, they’re declarations of a kind: there is another way.
~ David Farrier, from the article Desire Paths on Emergence Magazine
One of the things I’ve discovered about a lot of photographers, including myself, is that we often take pictures of windows, doorways, and paths. Perhaps it’s related to the fact that they are all thresholds in their way and it’s a way of capturing the movement from one space to the potential of another. Or maybe it’s just the way the path, the window, or the doorway offers an invitation into something more. What is on the other side of the doorway or window? What is just around the curve in the road or path?
At the same time, and speaking for myself, there is something within the present moment of the path that captures my attention. Here I stand on this path, for this moment of time, and this is what I see or have met in this place and time.
There are so many different kinds of paths, trails, and roads. I am reminded of when we first moved to Atlanta, Georgia (eons ago), and I asked a local about the roads. I was particularly interested in Peachtree Street which meandered all over the place. It would suddenly end and then pick up again a half mile later, end again, pick up again, and on and on it went. It was not an easy street to follow. It was likely a joke but the answer I was given was that the roads in Atlanta followed the old cow paths. I’ve heard that said of Boston streets, too. In the case of Atlanta’s modern streets and highways, and according to historian Kevin Kruse, segregation was at play in the planning. Openly at play. One planning report from 1960 stated that the layout of the boundary for one of the interstate highways “would be the boundary between White and Negro communities.” That seems so long ago and yet, here we still are with so much more change needed in how we think of paths, boundaries, and communities.
I wonder, as I look through old photos of paths and trails I’ve walked, why I haven’t chosen the word Path as a word or theme for the year. I wonder, too, what it was I did choose for this year. lol! I’ve forgotten. I think the reason I’ve forgotten is because I didn’t truly settle on anything. I’ll have to go back and look.
Path or pathway as a word or theme for the year might lead to some good observations, insights, and adventures. It is a good analogy for life in general. We start out on one path, maybe we detour or digress to another, we get lost, we get found, we follow the twists and turns, we go uphill and downhill, we twist our ankles on rocky paths, explore the wrack line on sandy no-paths that parallel the sea, and sometimes, when life thinks we need a rest, the path we’re given is straightforward and easy-going.
Humans are animals and like all animals we leave tracks as we walk: signs of passage made in snow, sand, mud, grass, dew, earth or moss…. We easily forget that we are track-makers, though, because most of our journeys now occur on asphalt and concrete–and these are substances not easily impressed.
― Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
I was not really going anywhere with this post. It’s another saunter or meander or wander through the archives. There are all kinds of themes I could explore just through old photos that have been hiding in the archives.
We have a cold front that arrived overnight, bringing with it much-needed rain. It’s refreshing and will allow us a more pleasant access to the trails and paths around here. The heat has been a boon to the biting insects. Tick season has already been bad and tick checks have become much more thorough since the ticks we’ve been finding are so tiny that it’s difficult to find/see them. Some cooler weather will keep down the flies, giving us one less biting insect to concern ourselves with for a couple of days.
Thank you so much for dropping by today and joining me on some of the paths I’ve traversed. I think some of the best trails are the unexpected, the detours, and the pathways we find when we get lost.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,786) Cold fronts that bring much-needed rain and cooler temperatures. 1,787) A wonderful day at the beach this week before the crowds arrive. 1,788) Watching the waves and the shore birds. 1,789) Giggly boys with short attention spans when it comes to Zoom. I sympathize. I’ve spent a good deal of time on Zoom lately (with more to come) so I can understand why they get so restless. 1,790) Making funny faces at and with giggly boys who make funny faces back at me. If only all Zoom calls could be that much fun.