Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Noticed on My Walk Home

Before I left work today, I decided I wanted to pay a bit more attention to my surroundings as I walked across town toward home, then make note of what I picked up on here. Often, at the end of the day, all I really focus on is the being home, rather then the getting there, which defeats the purpose of a pedestrian commute, somehow.

Here are the few things that stood out for me today:

1. I forgot to roll the cuffs of my pants up when I changed shoes. The pants I wore today were a bit long for the flat sandals I wear to walk to and from. I didn't notice that they weren't cuffed until I was out of the building, so I was definitely more careful in the way I walked, to avoid stepping on -- or getting caught up in -- my pant legs. I also avoided walking down the middle of Grant Street past Central Market, since the pavers are loose and apt to squirt stale water when stepped on.

2. A woman coming out of Carmen & David's with a tiny tasting cone of something undoubtably delicious. I've seen this same woman order one of these before. The cone is only an inch or two tall, with a little, proportional scoop on top. It would be a good way to rationalize having ice cream more than once a week, but there's something about my Saturday ice cream ritual, and the regular small cone that lasts almost all the way home that I cherish.

3. The lush, overflowing planters lining the stoops and windows along Gallery Row. Round, square and rectangular planters overflowing with green, red, and variegated leafy plants, and tons of blooms, mostly red. I'm terrible at identifying plants, though I think I saw a geranium in one of them. They are maintained very well and looked so lush and healthy even in the heat and humidity of late afternoon.

4. A stylish woman waiting in very high heels. I only saw her in profile, and I'm guessing she was waiting for a car, rather than a bus, because of where she was standing. She was impeccably dressed and didn't look bothered by the heat, and carried off the tall, narrow heels with grace, something I have never managed to do.

5. The fact that I can't write while walking. As I crossed the first of three parking lots, I took my little notebook and a pen out of my bag to jot some of these things down, because sometimes things just don't lodge firmly in my memory. As soon as I opened the notebook and thought about uncapping the pen, I realized that I wouldn't be able to write and walk at the same time. It does seem odd that I can knit and walk but not write and walk, but I think it is because the activities of the two hands would be so different when writing than they are when knitting. I just carried the pen and notebook in my left hand the rest of the way home.

6. Half a dozen (give or take) little brown birds pecking under, then flying from, the hedges between Water Street and Kelly Michener. I'm guessing they were sparrows, pecking and scratching in the dust beneath the hedges until I got close, then wheeling up as a group to perch in the tree branches overhead while I passed.

7. A fresh drift of auto glass in the Kelly Michener lot. It seems like there is a fresh one every couple of weeks, which then gets dispersed by car tires into the surface cracks in the asphalt across the surface of the lot. Remind me never to park there, or to contemplate walking it barefoot -- there are also frequently shards of broken beer bottles scattered around.

8. An adjustable lamp in the window of Odyssey Salon. Nothing terribly special about it, just brushed aluminum with a swing arm, but it was on, or just below, the windowsill and caught my eye as I passed on my way through parking lot #3.

9. Small, bright sunflowers leaning toward the parking lot just off Mulberry street. These were at the far end of lot #3, and were very cheery and bright and leaning away from the fence they were planted against and into the parking lot, as if to say, "Hi! Notice us!"

10. Mostly clear sidewalk washing water running down the gutter along Mulberry Street. Apparently the sidewalk (between two houses) wasn't very dirty, because the water seemed awfully clear. I'd expected it to be from a car being washed (except for the lack of suds), because that happens frequently at roughly the same spot.

11. Around the corner/down the street neighbors waving from their front porch. I don't even know their names, but they were regulars at Dosie Dough, and I see them frequently on my walks through the neighborhood and we always say hello or wave (I was across the street today).

12. The insistent din of cicadas in the trees on my block. I didn't hear them at all until I got under the trees on the other side of the alley which bisects our side of the block, then, wham, all at once. I can hear them outside my window now, over the drone of the fan.

Wow, a lot more than I would have guessed, somehow, though probably not much for a 20 - 25 minute walk. Glad I carried out the exercise, though.

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