Why Wander?


One day last week, the weather was finally (relatively) warm and sunny. At lunchtime, the warmer weather was calling to me to get out there and soak up all there is to offer out there. So, I put on my jacket and headed outside in the sun and wind to see what I could see. I have a few usual destinations for these lunchtime wanderings, but I decided to head out the door and just keep heading in that direction, I knew there was a park down there somewhere because I can see it out the window when I’m up high enough. With no plan in mind I just started walking and keeping my eyes open for whatever I might see that is interesting. So, here are a few things I found:

  • Manchester has a lot of churches. I suppose lots of places have a lot of churches, but my path that day took me past at least five different churches. They were all beautiful in their own ways, and all very different. By paying attention to each one, I was amazed at the variety they represented both religiously and architecturally.
  • Manchester also has a lot of really beautiful old houses. Again, the variety of the houses is very diverse. In a single block it’s possible to pass a run down, dilapidated house with tons of stuff in the yard, then a beautifully restored house that has had plenty of loving care to keep the old feel along with modernizing for the ease of living there, and finally, a big house which has been divided into several smaller units. I imagined what it must be like to live in a neighborhood like that. The mix of people must be every bit as varied as the mix of houses represented.
  • That walk was the day I saw my first spring flower! It’s been such a long March, with never ending snow, that I was truly jubilant at seeing the bright purple crocus. That was when I knew it really is going to warm up and stop snowing this year. After all, if the flowers can come back every spring, then we can make it to warmer weather too.
  • Although the streets seem to be in a grid, they aren’t quite. I purposely didn’t look at my phone to see where I was or where I should go next. I just went out the door and turned when I felt like it. The grid is close enough that I knew I was never lost, but I also found a bunch of little streets at an angle, or with a dead end, or tucked away behind a row of buildings. By simply wandering this way, I definitely found some streets I never would have seen otherwise, and may never quite find again.
  • One of the most fascinating things I found, just looked like an abandoned door standing by itself with no obvious purpose. In fact, when my curiosity got to me back at my computer, I found an article which described the door as a “door to nowhere” in Derryfield Park. It turns out to be from the old Town Pound, a place where wandering animals were put to keep them from causing too much fuss. I never imagined that this use of the word pound has lead us to pounds we think of today, like wandering pets, or vehicles parked in the wrong place.

I proved to myself once again, that it is always an adventure to just wander around in an unfamiliar place. I like to think of these as mini adventures just waiting to be found and right under my nose. It’s remarkable how there can be beautiful places, both big and small, in our everyday lives, but we usually just drive right by thinking about what’s next on our schedule. I’m trying to take this with me this week as a reminder to slow down, open my eyes, and wander toward something interesting or unexpected.

town pound.JPG

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