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Monday, 1.2.06: Walking

Juniata St, St Louis Missouri. House of my adolescence.One of the things I did in St. Louis was walk -- an hour nearly every morning. Was it a virtuous antidote to Christmas indulgence? Or a way to carve out some selfish time alone?

Because this was the first Christmas without my dad, everything got tinged with nostalgia. As a child I liked walking -- it meant independence and the ability to find my way.

Half hour out, half hour back covers a lot of territory. Southwest St. Louis is not very picturesque -- even though the streets are hilly and curvaceous. There is something wrong with the proportions. Small brick houses are strung on wide streets with sidewalks and generous curbs. The trees are stubby. Old street lamps have been replaced by sodium arc lights. Paved alleys feature a line-up of city-placed dumpsters -- "yard waste" and "no yard waste." Everything neat and utililitarian.

At dawn on a winter's day the streets are empty and there is too much sky.

I brought my camera along with me and all my photos look bleak and lonely.

St Louis, Missouri, Juniata Street, Dec 2005

I walked the paths of my childhood, age 11 - 18 or so. No particular poetry to offer here, no special insights. I was listening to "This American Life" radio shows on my iPod. My feet simply connected with the pavement.


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