Yesterday I was reminded that the place where I now live is familiar enough to love and new enough to explore.
I went for a walk in the evening after dinner (frozen pork buns from Trader Joe’s and leftover steamed kale…this ain’t quite a cooking blog. Not yet, anyway). A lot of people have been complaining about how cold this summer has been. I, however, am a Pacific Northwesterner who has spent the past six summers melting, sweltering, and wanting to die in New York City, so I am more than happy to put on a hoodie in August. It was foggy last night, and to me the fog felt like a comforting blanket. It seemed to make things quieter. I felt alone, in a good way; walking through the gray evening felt almost meditative.
My neighborhood and a nearby commercial street are separated by a tunnel. Pedestrians (and cyclists, I was startled to learn) are protected from traffic by a narrow walkway. I walked through the tunnel and down the street. I’ve been there with Faramir a couple of times before. Sometimes, these days, it is heartbreaking to go by places we’ve been together, and there are a few places I’ll avoid as long as I can. Last night, however, the memories were almost pleasant. People were around, enjoying themselves at bars and restaurants. By this time, it was dark, and the fog was drifting visibly through the street.
I gave Faramir a call, and we chatted a bit before saying goodnight. Then I turned around and walked back up the street. This time, I decided to walk over, rather than through, the tunnel, via a broad paved path that climbs through a pretty residential neighborhood. I was so delighted to be exploring a new place. By the time the path ended, I didn’t really know where I was (except for practically in someone’s backyard), but I had a general idea that if I followed streets for long enough, I’d arrive at one I recognized.
Where I arrived was a fountain, glowing yellow in the dark, in the center of a traffic circle. It was such a lovely surprise that I think I laughed out loud. I’m sure that if I went back there, it would look pretty prosaic and maybe even a little silly, but in the darkness and fog of a cool, quiet evening it was like a gift.
A few more minutes of wandering brought me back to a familiar street. When I got home, I was content. The walk was a friendly reminder that I do love it here. I am exactly where I need to be.