Monday, August 2, 2010

Walking to the end

Throughout our 9 days of walking, Lisa & I wrote together almost every night. We discovered that writing the blog entries together enabled us to put into the words the real essence of our walking experiences. And what we write this way; leaning into each others psyche's a bit, feels to us like a lovely gestalt; the sum being greater than its parts. This is surprising for us. We didn't know this would happen. We are happy it did.

We want to do more writing this way. But right this moment, I'm in my small house in Portland writing this entry by myself and feeling a little odd, missing the side of the road, missing Lisa-hearing her thoughts, and telling her mine.

Tonight after doing our Presentation/Discussion at Performance Works NW, Lisa, Jay (her husband), and I went out to dinner at Maya Satay (on Se 82nd). Then I was driven home, got help hauling my things into the house, kissed Lisa and Jay goodbye (for now), and walked up onto my porch. I unpacked & sorted through my bags. I filled the laundry basket, doctored my now Healing feet (I AM WALKING AGAIN), looked through my small package of walking remnants one more time, and then sat down at the computer.

I want to write more about walking into Lake Oswego. About looking for a restaurant in downtown L.O. & having dinner. I want to write about walking into and right back out of a New Seasons because there were just too many choices to consider. I felt like one of the sparrows that accidentally flies into my house from time to time; eek, where are the trees, bees, blue sky & the simple grass? I want to write about walking on my own two feet again without pain, about a nagging feeling of uncertainty I have mingled into the love of place I usually feel being back home in Portland. I want to write about the Presentation/Discussion/slide show we did tonight at Performance Works NW and the genius audience that showed up for it.

But I'm very tired. So for tonight, letting you know I'm home, we're both home, each at our own separate ends of the Body Habitat walking project valley; the Corvallis to Portland valley, is enough. We'll keep writing about the walking project, and we'll let you know what we're up to next.

May you sleep & dream tonight as if you've walked 100 miles, Lily

Lily and Lisa are Body Habitat and so are you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Are we back yet?

Crossed the Williamette by the Canby ferry. Crossed I 205 on Stafford Road. Two streams with narrow crossings. Followed other streams, defined by pavement: our stream threaded along Grant St, to Holly St, to SW Mountain Rd, to Stafford Rd, to McVey Rd. Mostly a stream of cars, some motorcycles, a few bicycles, and us.

The roads are 'cleaner' now. Someone has been sweeping up the remains in the kill zone. The cars on Stafford road were very fast and we returned to hypervigilant walking mind. Twinges of irritation return. A new born sense of uncertainty from all the busyness around us We cannot watch the world around us when we are so busy watching out for our lives. We were able to relax again when the sidewalks returned, at least the walker was. The scooter relaxed in the hotel parking lot.

We arrive having molted many layers. Our packs have lightened again and then again. Last night Jay took away our camping gear and the last of the extraneous stuff. (We intend to reincarnate it on the floor of performance works northwest monday night.). But it is not only our physical belongings that we have shed. We have shed some of the trappings of the civilized mind. We find ourselves embraced by tizzy town, the plowed field, the eyes of a deer, an amusing sign in a passing yard. Everywhere we look with these animal eyes of ours, we see the art of our kind.

Nature reclaims every inch that it can in the liminal space between development and native habitat. We see a deer in the trees just past a large lot offered for sale on the golf course fairway. The sign offers us one of three lots to build our dream estate. We ask ourselves a question we've been asking all along our route: success or failure? This time the deer is our answer.

As we walk back into town we feel as if we are walking into the pages of a magazine. Everything is tidy and ordered. Nothing smells except us, and exhaust from the concentration of cars. We think we smell best. They did let us eat our lunch in the nice church coffee shop on Stafford Road at I 205.

As we are approaching the end of our walk we are asking the question one more time: success or failure?

From Lily and Lisa, we are Body Habitat and so are you.

See you tomorrow night at Performance Works NW, 6:30pm.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Aug 2 || 6:30p || Body Habitat Walking Project | PWNW || Linda Austin Dance

Aug 2 || 6:30p || Body Habitat Walking Project | PWNW || Linda Austin Dance

A reminder from Lily & Lisa to meet up with us in Pdx on Day 9, Aug 2, 6:30p @ performance works nw

Your RSVP appreciated but not necessary.

We will be walking in right off Foster street to be with you.
We will sit together and show and tell and listen and question.
You'll do that great thing you do every time we see you.

Address location & all the skinny at:
or go to facebook and search for body habitat (we're a group page on fb)
we hope we see you there we hope, lily & lisa are bodyhabitat and so are you.

My feet & trading my car for scooter

As of today, Body Habitat walking project is one walking, one scootering.

After slow slow slow drive behind or ahead of Lisa along the beautiful, bird & animal rich side roads taking us to Aurora for the day, I had an idea.

Could I get out of my car & onto a Scooter?

So I told Lisa of my plan as I tiny hobble-walked next to her to an endpoint, where the side roads we had been on ended at a railroad bridge. Together we plunged onto the dirt path before us as I got more excited about the idea of riding a nice, slow moving scooter.

Just to keep you up to date, let me say that I was wearing my black fuzzy back-less clogs and walking on my own two feet again. Goofy but good. This body is remarkable. And the improvising mind a friend.

The dirt path turned into a tiny foot-size dirt ledge that we walked. Carefully. Spread out below us was bright green algae packed wetlands, fed by a tributary of the mollala river...geese, long leafed water plants, willowy trees. Full, ripe, watery existence under our feet.

Back in Canby, I called Columbia Scooter in Pdx (closest rental) & found out they'd hold a 49cc scooter for me until 6pm. (fyi: 49cc is highest cc's you can ride without motorcycle license). When I arrived about 3:30, they got me a helmet, had me test drive around the parking lot & block and said I looked good to go. Andy's only admonishment was to keep my eyes looking up & forward. He said I kept looking down and from side to side (ah ha, started using my animal eyes as I got out into the moving-air again!).

Scootering back to Canby at 30mph was exhilarating. Somewhere between driving and walking, another layer of liminal space. I was in the open air & could see, hear, & smell what appeared alongside the road. Again.

I'm back as I can be into one-whole-native-body falling deep into whole-world-as-habitat walking experience. With rapidly healing feet, on the seat of a 49cc scooter.

Tomorrow we are on to L.O. (Lake Oswego)

until then, sleep & dream like you walked 10 miles today, Lily

lily & lisa are bodyhabitat and so are you

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 6, you take the high road & I'll take the low road

The Shalom retreat center in Mt. Angel is quiet. Many people are in silent retreat, and small signs on doorways remind us to pay attention to sound levels: this is a quiet room. We each have our own small bedroom. Lisa is in Martha's room, Lily is in Hildegard's. The sheets on the bed are cotton, softened by years of washing. The nuns seem to understand body habitat walking project without having to say much on our part. They offer us many blessings on our journey. We are touched.

We look different walking today. A long striding walk, making great time and passing into the landscape with camera in hand at the ready for recording what the animal eye sees. (Lisa) And an hour with swollen feet in a car going one way to Portland, then back again, to Barlow Rd, to meet up and take body habitat tiny hobbling walks (bhTHW's) here and there. (Lily) We meet again across the Molalla River Bridge in Canby.

Today we also found words for two deep experience we are having as we walk:

We drop into that "...other world that is here right beneath this one" when the body and all its senses open, weave together and take in the world as one whole habitat. More and more our bodies feel this is the human animal in its native state. We often think this is a special state of being, holy & exclusive, a meditative state, a drug-induced state, a state we must earn; working at something taught to us by someone who is not us. What if the truth is that this way of being on the planet is as natural to our existence as breathing? Walking on our feet on the side of road, we create & exist in a liminal space that we experience as a sharing with all the birds, insects, trees, reptiles, poppies, & other mammals. Walking in liminal space we meet these others alive and dead, noisy and silent. We are all in our native habitat. All in one. Reality.

Cars seem hungry predators, without thought or scheme, killing wherever they go. Walking brings into body- consciousness how all the pathways have been claimed by cars. As the cars drive by, even at legal speed limits, we experience feelings of being assaulted, attacked, prey. It becomes surprising to realize there are no human remains on view alongside the other carrion littering the highway and ditches nearby. We feel anger and we feel sorrow.

from Lily and Lisa. we are body habitat and so are you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spectacle art

Sights: Dromedaries, dairy cows, Bethany store, dragonflies, california poppy fields, and field workers.

We spent another day on rural roads. No shoulders. Little room for our feet. Whizzing cars. Not much shade. We loved every minute of it. And just one more foot of pavement would made the journey so much more pleasant.

We continue to tell each other the stories of our lives. Stories that arise from physical reminders of the past: cemeteries, orchards, creeks, dogs barking or simple random smells. History and the present mingle well in the walking body. Lisa learned about lily's grandparents, yoga path, and happy memories she has of her ex-husband. Lily learned about lisa's grandmother, her meandering spiritual paths, and the depth of her love for her husband and son's.

We ate lunch at the bethany store with two self-employed construction workers. We were seeking salt and carbonation, they had 5 loaded hotdogs and a big bag of Doritos between them. We had dinner with the nuns at the Benedictine abbey: St Louis smoked spare ribs, bean salad and backed potatoes. Food tastes good.

The shalom retreat center is a welcome quiet end to the day after last nights generously given but noisy campsite at the hazel green/cordon road cross roads. We learned that farm trucks travel all night long and have very noisy brakes. We also learned that the E.Z. in E.Z. Orchard stands for Ed

From lily and Lisa, we are body habitat and so are you.

ps. hi, it's me lily. If you've been following us you saw yesterdays pictures of my ravaged feet. Ouch, big time. Tonight at shalom center when I took off my walking shoes, both Lisa & I gasped. Feet are worse. Went online to & had to surrender to fact that for now, my walking is curtailed. Lisa will walk alone tomorrow, but I'll be there too. I'll also be taking Tiny Hobbling Walks on my own in places along our route & then we'll meet up at our overnight destination. More will be revealed as to what it means to walk in this body on the planet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:S Main St,Mt Angel,United States

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A little walk @ pace of our own choosing

Day 4 walking we sleep-in at Travel Lodge til 8, eat delicious breakfast at Word of Mouth neighborhood bistro. Go shopping for long skirts & tall socks to cover our weather-beaten legs & ankles.

Also spent time in conversation about our performative lecture & discussion last night at Project Space gallery. We liked doing it, a lot. They liked us just as much. Threads of evening: safety & stress on the road, how & why pedestrian-culture has disappeared, walking stories, sharing the sightings & sounds we enjoy at the pace of walking that are lost to us when we travel enclosed or faster. We shared our blistered & red rashed skin. We showed our found objects; 2 plastic sunflower heads, a dried-bat, a tree gaul. We discussed small details of travelling by foot, and the big wide issues of culture and body. What we thought we knew In our minds is now being experienced in our feet.

Today we walked from the urban into the rural and watched as first the pedestrians and then the sidewalks disappeared. But not the cars. We walked at an unhurried pace & wished the whole walk could be without deadlines or unconstrained by reservations or the awkward distances between hotels.

From Lily and Lisa. We are Body Habitat and so are you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Hazelgreen Rd NE,Salem,United States

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Salem

The day in images.

With love from lisa body habitating in Salem travel lodge

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 26, 2010

Walking day 2, calling a taxi to "carry" packs to next stop, Salem, OR

This is true. Tonight I was ready to call taxi company(s?) in
Monmouth, OR to inquire about how much it would cost to have our packs
driven to Salem tomorrow. Maybe drop them off at performance event
gallery, Project Space or we'll show up at PS pack-less, taxi
delivering packs to TravelLodge instead. I like that this thought came
to me and I was willing to do it. (turns out Jay, Lisas husband, who
is coming to our gig at PS tomorrow night will pick up lots of our
stuff we're packing in a huge bag we got from night manager at motel,
before he comes to show. Love to you Jay)

In our Body Habitat collaborative posts(2) we mention remembering that
this project is about walking, not about suffering. I mean, who would
want to walk the valley if the main ingredient was suffering. & yes,
I'm aware there are people who might want to suffer. (Let's put them
aside for now, ok?)

I look around me as I walk, at the birds, dogs, horses, goats--none of
the animals plan their day around suffering, making the day harder for
themselves. I want them to teach me their way.

I had a teacher of body movement who proposed we consider the practice
to "Endure nothing." So tonight, at the motel in Monmouth, with sore
feet and doubts about my body's ability to keep on walking further, I
remember the practice and thought of calling a that taxi.

Already I know that in many ways as a society we have made the planet
inhospitable to walk where we want to go as just another animal living
in it's habitat. Now I'm beginning to see how I too cooperate with
this belief; that Walking is not a possible way to move through the
world easily. My choices & plans were made by an unenlighted mind,
even if the ideas to walk was outside the norm. There is More to know
about my cooperation & it is still hidden from me.

I do see tonight, that I do not (did not) know how to make real
decisions about making this walk be "about walking as a human animal."
As a culturally influenced being, my planning for walk was/is still
deeply influenced by a cultural bias that if I choose to walk, when it
is easier, therefore preferable, to drive, run, bike, then maybe its
just my tough luck to suffer while walking this valley. I don't buy

So I wish I could have known even the little more I know now this
short distance into the walking journey. But there was no way to learn
it except by doing it.

I know I'll learn more as we walk. This is good. I'm cracking open a
door I didn't even realize was shut. This too is good.

I promise I will continue to tell you all about it.

From Lily,
Here we are.


here we are.

Monmouth feels delicious

We are remembering that this is about walking, not suffering. We left a small cache of items we decided we didn't really need at our last camping spot. We are going to leave more here in Monmouth and have Jay bring them to us in Salem tomorrow night. Just the idea of a lighter pack makes us happy.

It is really stressful to walk on the highway. We were on highway 99 for about 3 miles today. Huge trucks and fast cars flying by. I almost lost my hat in the wind of a truck. Tense shoulders and busy mind, and eyes focused on the highway and cars rather than on the landscape. We had to stay hyper vigilant to stay safe. It was warzoneish.

we cut off onto hemlick road, the old highway 99. It was easier. We took a long break under an old oak tree. Someone's yard, but no one came out to chase us away. However later as we rested after lunch under an apple tree, the neighbor decided to mow his already very short lawn and blow a storm of dust and noise at us. We got the point and moved on. Further along someone offered us a place to camp and a young man we asked for directions wondered if we were missionaries. We laughed and said no, we were walking as an art project.

We stumbled into the hotel. The beds felt holy. The showers were wet and very welcome. Burgerville gets two thumbs up, for food, service, northwest ingredients and compostable containers.

Last night we fell asleep under the full moon. Tonight we might not make it that late.

From lily and Lisa, we are body habitat and so are you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here are some observations, quotes, experiences and epiphanies of day 1, 11.5 miles walking.

"everything in my pack smells like pepperoni"
"they'll find us by my pee rag." (hanging on a tree branch to dry)
"thank you god for giving us bodies that can lay down"
"excuse me but I talk to inanimate objects. If it bugs you let me know"
"I like shade."

We are walking an average of a mile and a half each hour. We take lots of breaks and a long lunch stop. We are going to eat the heavy stuff first. They should make dehydrated water.

And we love noticing the dragonflies, honeybees and the friendliness of horses. The horses left their grazing spot to come say hello. Shelley brought us fresh blueberries in the middle of our walk along hwy 99 - thanks! Jay fed us sodas and chips for lunch. The cashiers in small stores all wished us well and a safe journey.

Harder to see: dogs in small pens without shade, so little public space beyond the narrow strip of the highway, so many cars, and so few places to get a drink of water.

From lily and lisa, we are body habitat and so are you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:NW Grant Ave,Corvallis,United States

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Here I can imagine everything

I remember looking out into the woods at Shotpouch Creek, decked out in Body Habitat attire, breathing softly, just ending a long dance with the singing trillium, the pine cone husks & the birds. I think--here it is, right here I can imagine everything I am.

After a year of making projects to put our bodies into the many landscapes, we drop into animal body and the dance with native land with ease. We return to animal body & attune each time we dance in the forests; both wilderness & urban. We fall deeper into our native place. How lucky are we?

But at Shotpouch Creek, we began to wonder: What is as true as our bodies can get moving through the landscape? What is as true as we can get in this human animal body in motion--migrating, grazing, nesting, re-seeding, laying down & locating ourselves in no place except underneath our heavy heads?

Tomorrow morning we begin a new body habitat practice. We walk. Today I left Portland realizing that I will see my home again when 10 days from now, I walk back into it. Over the Sellwood Bridge to Foster to Performance Works NW. I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm ready.

I will walk for every one of us. I will tell you all about it.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chicago Walking the Outer Drive

Walking in Chicago is more beautiful than expected. The city is crazy with recycling bins, water saving barrels & prairie gardens. The Great Plains prairie foliage (forest) is everywhere, even in the more formal gardens around Grant Park. The city is going back to seed.
Spied red-winged blackbird, monarch butterflies of course of course! in bushes and grassy spread. And a cardinal in native trees. The sound is cicade-ified and crackly.
I walk and am happy here. Feel the natural landscape popping up through it all. Feel my human animal self popping up through it all.
Coming home to visit with my feet walking was good idea.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Here is my current packing pile. More electronics than clothing: 2 pairs socks, 2 pairs shorts, 1 pair pants, 3 shirts, undies, swimsuit, kerchief, still camera & 3 lens, video camera, phone, cables to charge electronics, ipad, chris' ipad camera connector ( bless your heart!), walking stick, 3 water containers, hats to decorate with found objects, tent, toe shoes for evenings in camp, dope kit, gorilla pod, 1 skirt, rope, book (brides of Eden) first aid kit, pack, sleeping bag and pad, electric tape & scissors, 2 pair socks. Still need to pack food for first 2 days. We'll restock food in Monmouth on Monday evening.

Location:NW Grant Ave,Corvallis,United States

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My sweetie got me an ipad for the journey. It is a whole new experience to type on these funny keyboards. I once typed two fingered. Now I am typing with two thumbs.

Tonight I will walk to da Vinci days and listen to music.

This experiment In urban walking is interesting. I am finding I miss the forest. But I don't want to use my car anymore than I have to. So just keep stepping out my front door. I look for new routes. Try to find urban paths. Look into gardens. I'm nosy. It keeps me interested.

I wonder about our longer walk. In urban settings basic needs are in some ways more difficult. I wonder where we will find to fill our water bottles or if we will need to carry a days worth of water with us. I wonder if we will find private places to eat our lunch or use the loo. I wonder how strangers will react to two middle aged women walking with backpacks through their towns.

Lily is right, you cannot plan an adventure. Not really. But I am trying to lay down as many contigency plans as possible. I am trying to be prepared. I don't want to have to walk too far out of our way to pick up something we forgot to bring. I want to be safe.


Location:NW Grant Ave,Corvallis,United States

Friday, July 16, 2010

Almost everyone walks here

Here I am at the Portland airport.   PDX.  On my way, flyingwise, to Chicago.

Every place I look, people are on their feet walking. 
There are moving-sidewalks, elevators, and escalators, but each one of these comes to an End.  And people walk.

Out the windows are big airplanes and smaller airplanes.  People in airline uniforms walking around
underneath them.  Everywhere, people walking.

There are 3 trees I can see from here at my gate, E2.  They grow under open glass skylights and huge windows. Each one growing in it's own square wooden planter, a shiny silver rim along the top.

So this is not the wilderness of dense tree, brush, shrub and pine needles. Here we are somewhere between the city and the landscape.   We all walk under the awning of 3 trees someone planted for us.

Thank you tree planter whoever you are.

I wish I had my bird-call whistles with me; lingering near the trees I'd tweet a little. A slight nudge of awareness to bring more outside inside,  more feet awareness than shoe, more head in the clouds than    airplane.

here we are.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One way the body "thinks" = curiosity

Body Habitat Walking is propelled by many curiosities:
What does walking and our feet have to teach us?
What of the commoditization of the natural body walking into a sport-based activity, or a method to lose weight, or a way to raise money for good causes?

Who benefits and who loses when we walk?
The geo-architectural planning implications of a culture that does not walk?
The development of psychosocial personality & belief structures (many fear & class based) that become reinforced in the Mind that does not walk on the planet?
The character of physical weariness & longing of the body that does not walk on its native landscape?

Is walking a way to recover the paradise-cycle of being lost, found, lost, and found again, repetitively throughout a lifetime?
What of the eco-political forces that keeps us dependent on wheels instead of feet?

Can walking weave an awareness of fragility and mortality into our everyday lives?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Art show goes on while I walk and a bit more

As my eyes become the eyes of a walker, I see the art show on display along the streets of Portland. There is wilderness, there are wilderness galleries and their are the sculpture tattoos of my kind everywhere. Some of these I like. Some I just see. Here are a few for your walker eyes to enjoy.

Today the squirrel lays down on the platform where I feed the birds and animals in my backyard wilderness. His paws are in front of him; squirrel sphinx like. His back legs and pawns sprawled out behind him. Wet dishrag squirrel pose. He tilts his head to the nuts and seeds and eats them up for awhile. Then he lays his head down across his front legs and closes his eyes. Summer squirrel pose.

I am learning a lot.

here we are.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Why?  Why am I doing this?  Why walk from Corvallis to Portland?

• Because I like to walk.  Because when I walk I see things that I don’t see if I go faster.  Because it was a puzzle to solve:  How do I get to Portland by foot?   Where can I stay en route?   Is it possible? 
• Because we have so constructed our lives and the world that a simple walk seems impossible.  We have forgotten that foot travel is our natural mode of transport.  As a nation, we drive everywhere.  I wanted to explore what it would be like to walk.
• Because I am deeply disturbed by the oil spill and I want to explore spending time car free, tire free, petroleum free.  I know we will still be dependent upon petroleum in many ways.  But in one very profound way we are going to cut ourselves free, for 9 days, we are going to walk.  
• And because Lily and I were sitting in one of our favorite coffee shops talking about what Body Habitat was going to do this summer and one of us said "we should walk from Corvallis to Portland" and the other one said yes.

Here’s the route:
Corvallis to Adair Village (9.7 miles)
Adair Village to Monmouth (13.4 miles)
Monmouth to Salem (17 miles)
Salem to E.Z. Orchard (5.4 miles)
E.Z. Orchard to Mt. Angel (10.7 miles)
Mt. Angel to St Josef Winery (11.6 miles)
St Josef Winery to Canby (5.9 miles)
Canby to Lake Oswego (12.5 miles)
Lake Oswego to SE Portland (10 miles)

Total mileage 94.5 miles in 9 days