Monday, September 19, 2005

It's Different At Street Level

I've been living in my neighborhood for just shy of a year now. I spend a lot of time here and given that my little section of the neighborhood is riddled by one way streets, I drive the same loop on a regular basis. Yet when I went for a walk/run yesterday, I noticed all kinds of interesting things that escaped me before. For example, while the sidewalks directly in front of my building are the traditional concrete kind, the ones on the next street over are made from huge slabs of slate. The roots of the trees on my street have cracked the sidewalks in places. On the next street over, the entire slab has simply been raised and tipped by the growth of the roots. In fact, in places, taking the next step up the sidewalk literally involves a step up onto a slate slab sticking out five or six inches above the adjoining slab.

There is a very small park one block over and two blocks down. It's got swings and a plastic playground. There are also basketball courts and a baseball diamond, but they've been claimed by weeds and rust. I found a long narrow alleyway connecting my street to another dead end street. I passed lots of people out walking in the cool evening air. With only one exception, everyone smiled or said hello as they went past.

I'm dreading the return of cold weather and shorter winter days. It felt good to go out and soak up some sunshine, to move and breathe and be alive. Running on a machine in the gym is one thing. This is something entirely different. I would have preferred to have company along for the journey. I always loved the long and meandering walks Finbar and I took (especially the ones that included a stop by Dairy Queen, mmmmmmm) for the companionship and the conversation as well as the fresh air and movement. The important thing, though, was that I got to take advantage of the unseasonably lovely evening, storing away the memory of how the air felt on my arms and legs for the coming days when every possible inch of skin must be swaddled in layers of wool and cotton, far away from the frigid bite of winter wind.


At 6:05 PM , Blogger pacatrue said...

That's one thing I have never gotten used to after leaving the South. No one gives the slight smile or hello when pasing someone in a park or on the street. It seems so rude to pretend as if the other human being passing you doesn't exist.


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