For the summer break, my daughters Ms M (7), Ms A (9) and I are planning a walking expedition of our city. Our aim is to walk the entire length of Lucile Street from one end of Seattle to the other.
While Seattle’s streets are largely arranged in a grid with streets cutting east to west or north to south, the uneven geography of the city means that many, if not most, streets aren’t continuous – they are interrupted by hills, gullies, bodies of water, and an interstate.
The break up of our street across the city lends itself well to exploring it in segments. This idea comes naturally to my kids as they can see the entire segment of our street from our house.
Look to the right from our driveway and you see the start of our street – at the edge of a riparian zone, where the great blue herons raise their young. This is the eastern edge of our street in the city.
Look to the left and you see a cul-de-sac. There’s a couple of homes there, a vacant lot, and up behind that at some remove there’s a synagogue.
In our first planning session, we discussed what we’d like and expect to see as we walk across our street. To help generate ideas, I shared how the street goes through residential, commercial, and industrial neighborhoods. They expect to see robots and power plants in the industrial segments.
To widen the list, we discussed what we could perceive with our different senses. That certainly helped expand the ideas of what kinds of sounds and smells to look for, but also how and what we could touch. We expanded the idea of touch to include what we could feel with our feet – was the ground hard, soft, wet and dry?
Finally we discussed what we would carry in our packs for our walk and what we would like to collect. Ms M wants to collect minerals and rocks, Ms A art and flowers, and I’m interested in collecting sound recordings and elevation readings along with plenty of photos, of course.