#ThursdayDoors — On the Beaten Path

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Yeah, I’m still Joey, not Norm, but I get to be a sorta Guest-Norm for #ThursdayDoors this week.
I’m delighted to be your guest host!
Let’s look at some doors!

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Today’s doors (or gates if you prefer) are neither sentimental nor spectacular. They are a testament to progress.

On my nostalgic trip to Ball State University this summer, I insisted we walk The Cow Path. The Cow Path? Yes, The Cow Path. Not where cows graze, but rather, where students trod.

I’d say off the beaten path, but it’s literally a beaten path of about half a mile.

A shortcut. An outdoor hallway.

The Cow Path runs parallel to the main thoroughfare, but behind buildings.


These doors, just four of many like them, separate The Cow Path from private residences.

When I arrived at Ball State some twenty-five years ago this month, I learned to walk The Cow Path. I walked The Cow Path every day, multiple times a day, for the whole four years. I had music and gym on the other side of the street, but that’s it. The rest of my classes were on my side of the street and The Cow Path was the most direct route.

When it was below freezing and the wind was full-on, The Cow Path was not only quicker, but warmer, too.

Back then, the elders spoke of the days of yore, when The Cow Path wasn’t even paved, when it was comprised mostly of well-worn grass. The university did not design this path. In the beginning, it was student-made. Cow Path Theory is a thing.

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Upon rediscovering The Cow Path, fences, doors, and all, I proclaimed to my children, “When I was here, there was no sidewalk, no pretty trees or wildflowers. It was mere asphalt then.”



Want to join in on the fun and share your own Thursday Doors post with other door lovers? Click on the blue button below to add the link to your Thursday Doors post to our link-up list.

Don’t forget that if you share your blog posts on Twitter and Instagram, use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag to help others find you, and please do take a few minutes to visit some of the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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78 Responses to #ThursdayDoors — On the Beaten Path

  1. Pingback: Thursday Doors – Goodwin Hotel – No Facilities

  2. jesh stg says:

    I’ll be back tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Handsome, simple doors serving a valuable purpose for residents and students – good ones. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Dan Antion says:

    “Not where cows graze, but rather, where students trod” – Students trod is such a well-understood expression. I think back on how we walked through all kinds of weather, up, down, over, under…If anything could make that journey shorter or easier, it was adopted as the path. I totally understand why you wanted to walk it again.

    I like the wooden gates a lot. Form and function, wrapped up nicely in a clean package.

    Thanks for filling in for Norm, hosting the text and feeding the frog.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Pistachios says:

    I did smile when I clicked on Norm’s link and discovered you’re guest hosting this week 🙂 Just finishing my post now, and will add it to the list!

    Some nice doors/gates here. All that greenery with the simple timber is just perfect

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      In hindsight, I wonder if I should have cropped more of the path-ness of it out, but really, that IS how it looks, well-worn right up to the edges. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Good grief, how is it I have this little tidbit floating in my brain? Cow path theory IS a thing.

    I recall learning about campus design some years ago. After going to great length to install paved pathways that students avoided for the more direct route, contractors waited until the students created their own pathways. They let the crowds (or cows, if you will) dictate the design – made perfect sense to me.

    BTW, I wondered if you’d be Norm’s guest host. A well deserved honour!

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Yes! It really IS a thing!
      There’s a video game my family used to play (rarely now) in which towns are built and part of it is creating your cow path so that you maintain the grass!
      I’m delighted you had that tidbit floating around in your brain.

      I am one of three guest hosts, so you get to guess for two more weeks! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Good morning, Joey-Norm. Thanks for being the hostess with the moistest this week. I’ve got to link up and get outside to work in the garden a bit, but I remember college paths made by students and not planned by planners. 🙂 I think it makes sense for all institutions to let the paths evolve and then pave them, as Maggie mentioned.


    Happy Thursday,


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Joanne Sisco says:

    It’s Joey-The-Norm Week!! 😀 I agree with Maggie … this is a great honour and responsibility!

    It’s the first I’ve ever heard of Cow Path Theory but we see it in action all the time. People, like water, all seek the path of least resistance. I guess it was inevitable that the residences bordering the cow path would build fences. It reminds me of one of my favourite walking paths near home … and yes, it goes to a school 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Benson says:

    Early riser or no sleeper? I like worn and dog eared fences and gates. The have so much purpose as well as dignity. Fences DO make good neighbors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Early riser today. Had to be up and ready to post the door linkies at 5:30. I was also up at 1, 2, and 4. I had just awakened minutes before my 5:00 alarm. There will be a nap later. After a nice lunch. Mmm, nap.

      I know sometimes you’re up before I’ve even slept!!! 🙂

      Fences do make good neighbors. I wonder what took them so long to erect them!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I love the cow path. The campus I knew tried everything to avoid them…extensive landscaping, fencing, etc…somehow, the students always find the shortest way from point A to point B…and it’s usually on the diagonal. They should have just paved over the path. Those fence doors are great…allow a lot of privacy (but they don’t block out the noise, I’d guess ?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Ball State is a quiet campus. It feels like private, not state. I dunno, it’s hard to describe. Maybe because it’s only about twenty thousand and not forty or fifty.
      I feel like the part where the fences, sidewalks, landscaping were all added — to me seems more student-oriented, because it’s not like the showy side. It’s not on the main drag with the incredible architecture and the bell tower, it’s the side with dumpsters and detours into parking lots, so it’s just for the pleasure of students. I was very pleased with the progression 🙂
      I’m glad you liked it, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. As someone who walks everywhere as of late (have no car) I notice “cow paths” everywhere…it is human nature as much as cow nature to take the shortest possible trak between point A to point B. I would have thought landscape architects would have figured out long ago that people don’t care how their paved sidewalks look when viewed from above.

    Drove past the BSU cow path for eight years and never knew it was there. Which goes to show how many treasures we can find if we just get out of cars once in awhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: exuberant – ALONG THE INTERSTICE

  16. Mike says:

    A little followup to a post about 10 months ago, the recovery after the floods in Ellicott City, Md. a year ago


    • joey says:

      Thanks, Mike. This link didn’t work for me, would you like me to edit it to match your current post?
      Your pingback has the correct link 🙂
      Unfortunately, I don’t know how to edit with InLinkz, but you can delete and change the fields there, since it’s your own. It should be link, name, email.


  17. bikerchick57 says:

    Congrats on being the Door Queen for the week! I bow to your door-li-ness!

    I did not know about Cow Path Theory, so I have learned something new today. From a door post. How cool is that? I really like the doors in the fence and how they have prettied up the corridor. Makes for a pleasant walk between classes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Thank you, thank you, very kind. It is my pleasure and I am happy to help 🙂

      Welcome improvements make it all the more pleasant indeed.

      I’m glad you learned a new thing today. Learning is the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. Candy says:

    Hmmm …… makes me wander what’s behind those doors along the cow path.


  20. I’ve always loved gates and back alleys — um — cow paths. I did not know there was such a thing as Cow Theory. I wonder if that is why USC took their amazing beautiful central lawn and cross-crossed it with a small brick stopping place in the center.
    Joey, Dan says you love the lights… Here is a wildly goblin-like light on the Washington State Justice Building… and if you follow the link you can see the lion torcheres. https://dkatiepowellart.me/2014/12/15/my-business-sketchbook-washington-state-justice-building/

    Liked by 1 person

  21. That looks like a handy shortcut and actually the gates are very practical and clean looking. It must have been good to walk it again, and reminisce 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  25. JT Twissel says:

    Hi Norm-Joey! I don’t have a door this week but I’ll support as many as I can. (When I was growing up in Reno we used to cruise the main drag – past the casinos – and shout “Cattle Crossing at the Corner” at all the gamblers jaywalking)

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Great stuff! The first gate has quite a unique door mat! 😉 My treks along the University of Hawaii Campus when I was student bovine didn’t have many cow paths but I did a lot walking from lower campus to the upper campus on sidewalks and probably just followed like sheep, deep in thought about the meaning of the universe… Now is a different thing as I look everywhere as I undertake your previous unknown, Cow Path Theory. I think I foresee a future Norm TD spin-off, Joey’s FATCP (Finds Along The Cow Paths). Congrats! Norm sure knows how to pick his guest hosts to keep the TD crowd entertained while he’s on hiatus and you’re certainly a top entertainer! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. jesh stg says:

    Something burned in your memory to show your kids and grand kids, with the story “I was there, when … ” priceless! Thanks for hosting, Blog Friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I know, right? When I was on campus, I did show my elder status. A lot of “That wasn’t there before!” and “Has that always been there?”
      Thanks for your support, it’s my pleasure to host 🙂


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  31. prior.. says:

    I love so much about the outdoor hall – and the shot with the leaf shadows is my fav of the post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: Thursday Doors (Toga Welcome…) – priorhouse blog

  33. You’re a lovely guest host for Norm’s Thursday Doors! I like the gates, and your story.

    When I was a girl I and many other kids used to cut through the alley behind several businesses to shorten the walk to elementary and jr. high. It was already paved which was nice on rainy days not having muddy shoes to deal with. I even cut through the VW car dealerships lot, and on into the show room for a sip of ice cold water out of the drinking fountain in the warmer months, and chat with the receptionist before heading home for the 4pm airing of Dark Shadows. And, the memory door has been flung wide open! 🙂 The dealership is something else now, and so is my old k-8th school, so I don’t imagine many kids are hoofin it to and from anywhere through the alley. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I’m always happy to elicit someone else’s happy memories! Kids do still ‘hoof it’ down alleys, at least in the city. Our family frequents the nearby alley, and at least one of my kids has fostered a relationship with a local shopkeeper, so she can be warm or dry or safe if we can’t be there with her. 🙂 Sorta like your VW stop!
      Thanks so much for sharing, and for your support. I am honored to help Norm out today 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  34. I love the term “Cow Path”! I was pretty sure that I once knew another name for those organic walkways that humans and other animals create as they walk from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, the googles wasn’t of any help. But, I did learn that there is a business term: “Paving the Cow Paths” which means automating a business process as is, without thinking too much about whether nor not that process is effective or efficient. I’m no longer in the corporate world (thank goodness) but I think that term could come in handy in real life too!

    Thanks for guest hosting! My doors will be installed soon 🙂


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  36. You make a great host for the weekly series, Joey. Love your doors too.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. marianallen says:

    I’ll have to ask #2 Daughter, who attended Ball State, if she walked the Cow Path. 🙂 Nice doors/gates!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      If she lived on the east side of McKinley, she surely did. People who lived on the west side, by DeHority and Studebaker, not so muches. 🙂


  38. John Holton says:

    This is in Muncie, right? I had a week from heck that started there.


  39. Love the gates. It’s great that you were able take your children on a stroll through a place of your past…and even better that there was “when I was here…” story. Kinda like the trudging uphill four miles in the snow of the past. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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  41. Norm 2.0 says:

    This must have been a nice stroll down memory lane for you and extra special because you got to share it with your kids.
    Thanks so much for filling in Joey! You did an excellent job of guest hosting – Bravo 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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