Walking with Julien
On the day of the presidential inauguration in 2017, we drove our newborn son home from the hospital and into an unknown, anxious future. This series is an ongoing visual meditation on our walks through “Northeast,” our multi-faceted, working class Minneapolis neighborhood, since his arrival.
As we walk, I respond intuitively to all that we encounter—nuances in the light, changes of the seasons, evidence of tension, my own subjective experience. We wander together in a state of grace, attentive, and absorbed by it all, each in our own ways. I witness him encounter the world and imagine the experience as it unfolds for him. In my role as a father, I wrestle with how best to guide him in the face of limited freedoms and unforeseeable responsibility. And there are realities that lie beneath the surface: COVID-19, the disruption of work, economic and political uncertainties, injustice, a divisive election, a vaccine. Our actual experience, however, is more than this. Our walking allows us to slow down and appreciate subtlety. While we acknowledge the tempestuous world of our time, we remain present and see life anew as we walk through it.
As Julien grows into a speaking, walking, conscious boy who interacts guilelessly with others, I too continue to grow. His curiosity and openhearted engagement with our compact neighborhood have emboldened me to delve deeper into the innumerable intangibles that bind us with our place.