Stories and photographs by Jim Hamerlinck©2009, 2010, 2011

Friday, October 9, 2009

Do You Want To Walk Around Green Lake?

Green Lake Path #1, 2009

A couple of women, neighbors, who have known each other only a short while, talk more openly about their lives with each other . A middle aged man, bald and sweaty and shirtless, navigates the path gracefully on roller blades, bobbing his head to the beat of his music. A new mother pushes her babe in a stroller and exhibits a particularly joyful gait. A group of three adolescent girls in bright clothing and braces laugh and gesture and move at a pace that the small dog one of them is walking can barely keep up with. A mother in her sixties is walking with her daughter in her forties and they are talking about the man who was neither a very good husband or a very present father.

Green Lake Path #2, 2009

A contented looking man is wearing blue athletic shorts that are a product of the Seventies--super short and very tight fitting. A large man in soiled gray sweatpants is jogging deliberately, huffing mightily, trying to maintain his pace, but you wish he would stop and rest. A grandmother pulls off the path and adjusts the hat on her new grandchild’s little head. The delicacy and tenderness she bestows on this small task is touching. Two twelve year old boys on small bikes maneuver their way around and through the walkers and runners with a confidence that borders on cockiness. But they are not out to hurt or intimidate--it’s their lake, too, and they're aware of you. Two men walk side by side but find words hard to come by. A tiny man runs as if his very life depended on getting around that lake. Two couples with dogs cross paths. The dogs stop and sniff and inspect each other, but the human couples hardly acknowledge the other’s existence. A young couple in their twenties, in the throes of new love, hold hands and smile and laugh, oblivious to all around them. A little girl tries to steady herself on her pink bike as her dad gently guides her along the path. A woman skater glides by, looking like electricity on wheels with a smile that tells all.

Green Lake Path #3, 2009

A clean cut, conservatively dressed man in his thirties performs some knee bends and push ups before engaging in meditative Tai Chi movements. The sweaty, bald skater whips by once again. Three women walk in unison and talk animatedly about something either very embarrassing or very sexy. A couple looks like they’ve taken this walk everyday for fifty years. They wear matching REI-type clothing and hiking boots. They seem to have come to some kind of agreement about their relationship. A woman of an indeterminate age wears an expression of deep, deep sadness. A large collection of people, maybe ten or twelve, who look not to be related but associated in some way, move with an awkward, uncertain unity. They don’t know each other’s pace. There is no real leader. Conversation is difficult in such a setting. Yet, they look happy to be with each other at this park on this beautiful day.

Green Lake Path #4, 2009

© Jim Hamerlinck.All Rights Reserved.

  • “There's nothing to be gained from passive observance, the simple documenting of conditions, because, at its core, it sets a bad example. Every time something is observed and not fixed, or when one has a chance to give in some way and does not, there is a lie being told, the same lie we all know by heart but which needn't be reiterated.” Dave Eggers