Wonder Walk #2: My Milwaukee Neighborhood

Life is full and something I keep learning over and over (and over and over) again is that energy is finite and must be restored. So, as much as I’d love to go to a different park or state forest every time I go on a Wonder Walk, I mostly need to keep it simple with a walk around my neighborhood. I find this both practical and one of the best ways to practice mindful walking — you think you’ve seen it all, but on every walk there’s always something new to discover.

This area of Milwaukee was mostly developed between the late 1800’s and the 1930’s. There you used to be a cable car that ran through the middle of the neighborhood – it went from downtown out to Pabst Farms in Wauwatosa that spurred the growth of the area. Yes, the Pabst as in Pabst Blue Ribbon or PBR. The original brewery has been restored and is open for tours and events. Pabst is a legacy here in Milwaukee and you’ll see Pabst/PBR signs on nearly every bar and restaurant.

My particular area is a small, about 11 by 5 block grid with every other street situated as a one way. I think a lot of people find this to be a pain but it’s a lovely traffic reducer and makes it all the more safe for walks. As I stroll about, I love just noticing the houses – there tons of bungalows and duplexes with random colonials or Spanish-style stucco homes or Tudor-style homes. It’s cute and rather charming.

It’s also one of the only areas of Milwaukee that is actually integrated racially, economically, and socially. There are families, single folks, couples, intergenerational households, and halfway houses for special needs adults. All ages, many different races, and from poor to wealthy. You get a little bit of everything here and it feels like the way things ought to be (aside from completely egalitarian but that’s for another blog post) — it’s refreshing. 

I love passing by all the Little Libraries and seeing how their owners attempted to make mini replicas of their homes, or sometimes not at all! I love to see the raised beds nestled in side yards or in front yards.

There’s one house that has the loveliest garden in the spring and summer – I swear the way the woman plants, it feels like she creates a seasonal symphony each year. The flowers swell, harmonize and crescendo differently each month April through September. It’s stunning. It should come to no surprise that she’s also the house that has a sign post with a covered box, in which she periodically posts a different poem. On this walk, one of my favorites was posted, “Created for Joy” by Hafiz:

“I sometimes forget

that I was created for joy.

My mind is too busy.

My heart is too heavy

for me to remember

that I have been

called to dance

the sacred dance of life.

I was created to smile,

to Love,

to be lifted up

and to lift others up.

O Sacred One,

untangle my feet

from all that ensnares.

Free my soul

that we might


and that our dancing

might be contagious.”

Neighborhood walks also mean seeing all the cute pups. I see these dogs bopping about, happy to be out and sniffing, and my lonely heart swells. I feel vicariously joyful yet keenly aware of the yearning for that sort of companionship. But I do not dwell here – I simply am not in a position to give a dog the life it deserves, so I find what contentment I can in observation.

This walk was a great and needed gratitude practice. Many times, I feel frustrated and bored with this city; but despite its flaws, it has a lot of charm. I cherish this neighborhood and the cute, craftsman homes, quirky lawn decorations, and all of the signs that assure me there are welcoming, warm people here. It has been a lovely place to call home. 

  • Here is a link to my video rendition of this Wonder Walk. (Coming soon)
  • And here is a link to the poem I wrote inspired by this walk/place. (Coming soon)

Thank you for coming on a walk with me. See you next time.







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