Welcome to 52 Mondays. In 1998, at the age of 30, I started running. Running, I would come to realize, would change my life in so many ways. Not only would it make me healthier and more fit, but it would profoundly influence my thinking about who I was, what I would do, and which direction my career would take.
New Jersey isn’t exactly what you’d think of when you think of “rural” places, but this Garden State of ours does have some beautiful semi-rural areas and there are many of these types of places to run in the county where I live. There is one spot I love more than any other, on one road in particular, where the trees are like a tunnel and the gravel road curves to left, almost giving one the illusion, from a distance, that the road just stops. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet.
About a year ago, it occurred to me that, because I take this pretty road out and back for every running route I do, I must have run down it many, many times. I wondered… how many? So, I did some math. By multiplying out a conservative estimate of 4 times per week over the course of 12 years, and then doubling that number for going out and back, I realized that my feet have crossed this same piece of earth nearly 5,000 times (4,992 to be exact). Wow! That’s a lot!
They (whoever they are) are going to pave this road soon. They are going to pave the road, bulldoze the trees, and then build 100 houses where the trees once were. It’s terrible and it makes me really mad but I don’t think there’s much to be done about it and, truthfully, land preservation is not my area of social activism. I am an artist and a writer and a teacher.
So, next Monday, I’m going to embark on a project. I’m going to take a photograph of the place I love every Monday for a year. But 52 Mondays is going to be more than that, although it’s kind of hard to put into words just yet, mainly because it’s like a million ideas swirling around in my mind. It’s going to be about nature and environmental stuff, fitness of mind and body, thoughts on my stories and art, reflections on education, exercises in art journaling, inspiration, creativity, literacy and more things than I can list here!
It’s kind of still evolving.