Monday was the sort of weather that only comes around a few times a year, so I took off walking. I was both delighted and disheartened.

I left my car near the east end of Pierre, not far from the bridge over the river, and just figured I’d hoof it to the other end of Pierre. In fact, at 17th I cut over to Colorado and then went all the way up the big hill to its east end. Tough finish, but it was nice enough that I did a reverse course all the way down Colorado the next morning, from the top of the hill to downtown.

Those routes are entirely residential, with the exception of Yi’s Oriental Market on Colorado. They represent the guts of the town, going back to its early years.

Some really beautiful old houses dot the routes I took. Some of the gardens are spectacular, too, helped by the cool, damp weather this spring. Just to pick one at random: 617 Colorado, right across from the municipal court. I don’t know them, but I’d tip my cap to Lucia and Richard Jones, the listed owners of the property, for making it so attractive. The previous owners, Bonnie Lynn-Sherow and Jim Sherow, also deserve credit for their work restoring it. The house dates to 1889. I have no idea what they’ve had to do to fix up the place, but other owners along the route might want to take some advice. Because there are also a lot of houses in need of attention.

I don’t want to shame anybody, and I also understand that some of the owners may be out of money, or they might be physically incapable of keeping up, or both. A lot of the houses, I would imagine, are owned by absentee landlords. Some of them are vacant and are on the market. Some of those places need heavy-duty repair. Some porches are falling down; there’s probably rot and cracks and who-knows-what. I’m not a home inspector, and I don’t want to pretend to know anything about all that.

But here’s the point I’d like to make: A lot can be done without much money or even that much effort. A couple of hours with a lawnmower, a string trimmer, and some clippers would go a long way. Five gallons of paint would make a breathtaking difference to many homes. Now would be a great time to put in that work. It’s perfect outside, and ... well, if you can’t do it, there are plenty of kids around town looking for something to do for a little money.

It won’t change the world, and for the most part, it’s nobody else’s business what your yard looks like, or what your house looks like from the street. But it would help our community look better, and feel just a little better about itself, and that’s worth something.

Then, when you’re done, take a walk. It’s a beautiful time to do it.

— Seaton is publisher and editor in chief.

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