a walk around the neighborhood

I read a bit more of “The Mind of the Raven” (by Bernd Heinrich) but the glow of the twilight was too much for me to sit idle in the window. I donned some shoes and a thick, coarsely knit hat (made in Peru I think) and took my cup of coffee outside. I crossed Washington Street and was heading west on Broadway when I heard a leafblower in that direction. A block away was an old lady blowing less than a handful of leaves around as though she were herding psychotic cats. So I turned south and continued on Washington. Traffic was much better than a leafblower. Besides, now facing south I had a good view of Spencer Butte’s wonderful forrested crown. I learned from the paper this morning that this butte would be the highest point in 11 other states.

I turned west at 12th street. On the corner there is a beautiful house with high pitched roof and a few gables. I like the character of the house. I would love to live in it if it were not on such a busy street. Moving west I simply walked and enjoyed the sights and sounds… and smells. I had come upon a house with a wood fire burning in its chimney. I couldn’t place the wood used, but it was pleasantly sweet and I decided that if I should have a house someday it would have a fireplace where I could burn such wood. The main heat of the house to be otherwise created, but still there is a charm in a wood fire. I passed by a greyhound sitting on a short rope near the porch. It was very happy to see me and wagged its tail profusely and it sat down as if to say “see… I’m a good dog, come pet me!” I almost did but I saw the owner farther inside the porch and my “you’re a happy dog, yes you are” language to the greyhound didn’t affect the scowl on the person’s face.

Coming to Adams street I felt the sudden lightheadedness from low blood sugar. I’ve had nothing but three snickers bars, a bowl of cocoa pebbles, eggs and sausage in two days. Time to go home and eat. Turning north again on Adams street I walked a couple blocks. I soon came to a lady standing in the sidewalk before her yard. It was one of the many “natural” yards in the area, places where there is no lawn but northwestern plants filling most of the spots and wild grasses instead of the type that needs to be mown. It looked and smelled great. I told her that hers was the best looking stretch of sidewalk for several blocks. She laughed. I said that is smelled good also. She said that it was the rosemary and if I ever wanted some to just come up and snip some off. We talked a little about her flowering dogwood tree (though it wasn’t flowering and had no leaves on it at all) before she told me to enjoy the rest of my walk and I told her to enjoy the rest of her day.

Turning east on 10th I walked by a guy raking the leaves in his yard. I looked at all the houses as I walked. I have come to know this neighborhood over the past two years. The hotel that I lived in when I first moved here is two blocks from where I live now. Both apartments are on the same block. I’ve taken many walks in the neighborhood. In reading the book “Mind of the Raven” Bernd refers to Gussow (A Sense of Place) with the quote “A place is a piece of the whole environment that has been claimed by feelings.” I had read that little bit before my walk and it entered my mind now. I was making this neighborhood my place, but one thing struck me as a shortcomming. I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood. I decided that on future walks I’d say hello to more people (which I usually say hello to everyone I meet) and maybe gradually I’d make some area acquaintences. Maybe not of the type to invite me over for dinner, but perhaps the type to chew the fat a little underneath a blooming dogwood tree.

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