There’s this video on my cellphone that I cherish. It’s of my son Dorian taking his first steps. I remember the way he waddled, almost running to keep from falling. Now at 13-months-old, he is gaining a mastery of what will be his primary mode of transportation; walking. It’s as automatic as blinking and almost as utilitarian as breathing but is it a “lost art” like cursive handwriting and dark room photography?
Park and Vine owner and Cincinnati Parent contributor Danny Korman recently challenged readers to take up the “lost art” of walking in his Green Family column. So I set out with my husband and son to Oakley, for one of Korman’s family friendly walks. His book Walking Cincinnati is full of maps and instructions to guide your urban trek and it’s a great way for kids to get familiar with navigation.
As we begin on Markbreit Avenue I’m a bit skeptical. The route follows some high traffic streets through Oakley and Hyde Park. I’m not sure the stroll will be very scenic or that the roads are easy to negotiate with young children. It’s not the best path for strollers and toddlers but we find some quiet side streets so Dorian can practice walking. We’re also surprised to find many points of interest along the way. They include a yard full of buried plates, the steeply pitched roofs of Tudor Revival homes on Eileen Drive and a cocoon-like web of insects that Dorian tries to decimate. They are the details of a neighborhood, overlooked from our car windows. Maybe you’ll find them on your walk.
We tiptoe over caterpillars on Cadillac Avenue. A lawn mower sputters on Drakewood Drive. Our tour takes a more industrial character along Wasson Road. Cars zip past drab looking office buildings. This long stretch feels more contemplative and we fall into silence. Across the road, weeds cover the old train tracks.
Related Post: Family Friendly Walks in Cincinnati
We slip through one of two hidden passages on Korman’s map. It’s Glenhurst Place, a dead end street with a back entrance accessible only by foot. There are neighbors out and our arrival feels intrusive until they wave. We return the gesture. I think of how a simple wave could be another “lost art” if we don’t put away our cellphones and show our children how important it is to exchange these pleasantries.
By the time we reach Madison Road, Dorian is asleep in his stroller. There’s more to explore, including a trip to Brazee Street Studios, but a storm cloud rolls in so we quickly reroute. We hightail it to the Oakley business district and take shelter in a classic ice cream parlor. The sidewalks are coated in rain. I dip into a sundae drowning in pineapple mint syrup.
Sitting in Aglamesis with my family, I discover a parenthood perk. On our route we saw parents pushing babies in strollers, pulling kids in wagons and trotting alongside children on tricycles. From birth, to their first steps and beyond children get us on our feet. They goad us to go outside. They give us a reason to walk. And so, maybe the art is not lost after all.
Selena Reder is a mother, writer and part-time video producer living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her son Dorian and husband Tim. Dorian loves chasing Selena and Tim’s tailless cat, making messes for dad to clean up, squealing loud enough for the neighbors to hear and staring at strangers until it’s uncomfortable. Tim loves Dungeons and Dragons, Margaret Atwood and writing meticulous grocery lists.
Selena loves washing cloth diapers, binging on British TV (Top Gear, Only Fools and Horses, Doc Martin, etc) painting and knitting super fancy baby sweaters. She also loves working part-time with her video editor husband (special shout out to her parents and in-laws for being great babysitters!).
If Selena were stranded on a desert island with only one thing to do for the rest of her life, she would nurse her son in their favorite chair. It’s the best thing in the world right now.