Welcome to My Street

Discover Prompt #4 – Street

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View from my front door

The street where I live is actually a Circle.  They tell me it’s about one mile all the way around. My furry Baby Girl and I walk half the length a few times a day.  Sometimes, out my front door and past the parking lot, I feel like I’m stepping into a magic forest. 

The Embers is an apartment community in the middle of a large city. I’m told the project was built inside a protected conservation area.  It’s generally quiet and tranquil except for the occasional ambulance in the distance or helicopters flying to the Trauma Center at a nearby hospital. 

The street is lined with all kinds of native trees and plants. The street lamps seem to have been strategically placed, so that during the hours just before nightfall or daylight, shadows can play tricks on your eyes.  The soft light from the moon and stars seems to Moon in the treesmake the street glow, and it’s easy to forget that I’m not really out in the woods.

On our street, the regular small woodland creatures like possum, armadillos, snakes, and squirrels forage for food and make their homes in the thick vegetation.  The trees are filled with all kinds of birds, each one signing a unique melody with the woodpeckers keeping rhythm with their tap, tap, tap. 

There is a large population of cats – blacks, and tuxedo, marmalade, and tigers in grey and black.  It’s hard to tell if they are all feral or just out for the day. Baby Girl loves the kitties, but whenever we come near, they scamper away into the tall grass just beyond the road where she can’t reach them.  Each time she catches a whiff of a kitty, she gets so excited and desperately wants them to play with her.  I can see them watching her from within the bushes.  Sometimes I wonder what they think of all her enthusiasm.

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Scent of a kitty

There are no sidewalks on our street, but boulders where placed near the ends of speed-bumps to keep drivers off the grass. Covered in moss and dirt, on days of dense fog, these boulders appear to be stunted creatures trying to climb out of the ground. I’ve wanted to photograph them, but these crafty creatures turn back to solid rock when they see me take out my phone!

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Baby Girl and the Stone Creator

My imagination ponders about the natural history of this place.  Who were the first dwellers here, and how did they spend their day? 

It’s great that this piece of land has been kept in some kind of land conservation trust. I’m especially glad that with all the social distancing regulation, I have a nice space to walk and let get inspired. 

Welcome to my street. 

Letter R – Reality and beyond

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There is a fun side to an alternative reality. I like to live on the edge of it sometimes. That’s why I write. I like to look down a narrow dirt trail and wonder how many people walked there before me. How many footsteps and how many years did it take to carve out this path? Who were they? Where were they going? Did they carry hollowed canoes to the river? Was it a shortcut to town? Was it a path to freedom?

Depending on who my companion is, I can elaborate a life story for these imaginary dirt trailpeople – joys and sorrows included. My friend would say, “yes, and…” to complete my narrative. One of my siblings would say, can’t we just walk without you making things up? Peaceful walks in quiet reflection, engrossed in the sights and sounds are one of my favorite things to do. However, there is a time for everything under the sun, and sometimes, I want to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. As a side note, remember it’s important to choose travel companions wisely to enjoy the moment fully.

When my sisters were young, and the mood was right, they could spend hours “talking” to our mutt, Victor.  The girls at about five or six years old, obviously knew it was me talking for Victor.  I never pretended to be a  skilled ventriloquist to throw my voice in his direction. I was almost ten years older, and yet, we managed to entertain each other regardless as Victor sat between us loving all the attention.

Victor was some kind of a shepherd mix and quite a storyteller. He would tell them how his day went – who stopped by the house, what he saw each time he went out to “do his business,” what extra treats he got, what he thought Mom was cooking for dinner that made his mouth water. Sometimes he would complain that Fred, the stray cat, had come into through the kitchen window to brag about his adventures in the alley and the mouse that got away.

Sometimes I would live vicariously through Fred, the stray. I learned to love cats with Fred, despite my dad’s superstitious apprehensions. Fred was big for a cat, furry, gray and quite independent. He would roam the back alleys of our city freely with a swagger and without fear. I would wonder how far his cat feet could carry him. Where did he go and what did he see? Did he stop at other homes? What did other families name him? Most days he would only stop in for a short while to eat. In the winter or hot summer days, he would stay longer to keep warm or cool off. Those days before he took off again, he would rub against us one by one as if to say “thanks”. One time he came back with cuts and scrapes. We tried to keep him in the house and off the streets, but as soon as he was strong enough, he was wailing at the window to be let out. At times he was gone for days, and one day he never returned. Unfortunately, there was never a shortage of alley cats in our neighborhood, and soon Fred was replaced by Snagglepus and then Mister Magoo.

Not too long ago I was at one of those Brews, Jazz and Funk Festivals at the park by the river. As the tribute band played well-known favorites, a small, lone figure of a dancer rocked and rolled her way to the front of the stage. With her ripped shorts, bracelets, and tattoos up her arm, she personified the saying “dance as if no one was watching.” She was easily in her 70s, but she had obviously transcended time, and everything else around her didn’t exist. She was definitely in the zone and inspired others to step out. Soon she was surrounded by people of all ages letting the music take control. When the music stopped, she was visibly exhausted, but I caught that big smile that slipped across her face. She had a cosmic air about her. Who was she? How many concerts in the park had she attended? Was she a musician herself? In my mind her name was Carole, and she sang and played with a band a lifetime ago.

I like to stretch my mind beyond what my eyes can see. It’s great for problem-solving and relationship building because it helps me to have an open mind to see alternative beginnings and endings. As I continue to blog, I’ll share some of the stories of my alternate reality. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have making them up and perhaps together we’ll learn a few things about us along the way.

R is for Reality, the alternative kind.

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