Patrick Rhone posted “Where Are The Sidewalks?” over at his blog. I recommend it, a very good read and some food for thought.

I grew up in the rural Minnesota, about five miles outside of town, and that’s really shaped me for the most part. Now, living in that town, I’ve grown quite fond of the sidewalks that we have here to get from place to place. Realistically, I get quite annoyed when I go somewhere (say, a new subdivision) and they do not have sidewalks there.

From where we currently live I have the following available within walking distance:

  • my kid’s future school – 5 blocks
  • library – 4 blocks
  • park w/kiddie pool – 4 blocks
  • downtown – 6 blocks
  • our church – 6 blocks
  • my work – 12+ blocks

That’s just off the top of my head. It doesn’t not include the many people who are around us or just the general beauty of the area because the city has made it a priority to have a lot of trees.

Realistically, everything is reachable by walking here. I used to run three times a week and I guess it would take less than a half-hour to walk to the nearest Target. Along the way you hit another park. This doesn’t even count the parks at the schools which are almost all within five minutes of our house.

All of that was really just to point out that New Ulm is a great city for walking. I’m hoping we get to do more next year as my youngest son ages past the point of me fearing having him outside too much. It will be good to get outside more.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this but I am reminded of a conversation I was having with my uncle not long ago. He was lamenting that more parents don’t know each other, even if their kids are of a similar age. That’s so true. Connections are made more by what your kids are doing outside of school than of who they spend time with in school. It’s tragic, really, that we don’t get to know more people.

However, it’s also tragic that we don’t just get out and get to know more people around us in the community. Growing up it was ridiculous not know every person who lived on our road between the turn off on the highway to the intersection with the next county road. Some of those people were even closer than our own family and they were spread out over more than two miles.