Saturday, February 05, 2005

musings: cross-city trek

i have been feeling the need to take a really long walk. these used to be such a regular occurrence when i first moved here, but life crowds itself with activities and noise. so sometimes the choice must be made to set out on foot, a voyageur among pedestrians. living in a city, walking down its sidewalks, breathing in its smells is unlike anything experienced elsewhere. you never quite know what you will see.

some images captured from the jaunt:
1. a homeless man with garbage bag slung over the shoulder as if santa claus had traded in his uniform, mumbled to himself about the "rest of the world being the crazy ones."
2. two older chinese women waiting for the 29. one smiles at me revealing all the sockets in the front of her mouth where teeth used to reside. her eyes shine.
3. a chinese man slowly cycling down the sidewalk, two garbage bags hoisted onto the back of his bicycle, used for collecting recyclables. he stops, picks up a crushed can, then bikes on.
4. a homeless couple wait at a cross-stop to pass over with their grocery cart filled with a case of Budweiser and boombox to their cluster of friends on the other side. music gleefully blares from the cart.
5. a six year old on a scooter begins the countdown at 19th ave., ready to peel out into the crosswalk. 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1... take-off!
6. a father takes his twin girls out in their stroller for a morning trip to the park.
7. feathers and little bits of red guts are scattered on the pavement. my head looks to the right and sees a headless pigeon.
8. amid the drone of cars whizzing by, i hear the somewhat low thump of drums in the near distance. the drum circle plays on with such consistency.
9. a man wearing a day-glo orange jacket, riding a bike with day-glo orange and green spokes rides by. on his head is a headpiece of a collection of yellow plastic leaves.
10. on haight st. i meander into a little store with great hats. i resist and keep walking on.
11. by buena vista park, i pass the house i believe to be a sanitarium, placed in an odd space like haight st. out of the corner of my eye, i see a woman in a hospital gown standing in the doorway, behind a security gate. she mumbles low and steady.
12. this street has so much history for me. memories and people float into my mind and back out onto the pavement receding into the background.
13. a guy wearing cowboy boots, a thermal top and a fedora steps out in front of me, his feet making a clicking sound as they make contact with the earth. he walks into a hip hairstylist salon. it figures. i see his face and the thick strap of leather around his wrist- it all works for him.
14. next i pass windows of pizza and lamb shawerma. then by throngs of people outside kate's kitchen.
15. down on hayes the brunch crowd is breaking up and more people in the city are starting to wake up.
16. i stroll by a local bakery that my friend sara works at. she is melting chocolate in a big stainless steel bowl and double boiler. i knock on the window. she looks up and we exchange smiles.
17. this is when i pass by a group of gay men and see barry- a man we met at grace cathedral, christmas eve. he recognizes me and we chat about the great weather, how he has just checked out to taize the night before. we hug and he tells me to say hello to my mom.
18. i pass by the symphony hall, where tonight is a musical tribute to chinese new years. in the windows i can see giant china girl balloons blown up and standing erect, next to balloons with chinese characters on them.
19. at the crosswalk, all these little chinese children mill about, in their dancing dragon costumes,
waiting for others to exit the car pausing by the curb.
20. an old man and i cross the street at the same clipped pace. my destination in sight.
21. i enter the steps of the main library, ready for what else the day has to unfold.


Blogger netherus said...

Wow, what an observant day.
That's wonderful.

1:31 PM  

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