My husband and I only have one car between the two of us. Since he works about 30 minutes away from home, and I, meanwhile, work a mere four blocks from our apartment, he wins driving rights, and I walk everywhere. I’ve been Walking Everywhere for several years now, and I love it because I love feeling my environment underneath my feet and seeing random things and hey, the exercise isn’t so bad, either.
Last night after work, I discovered that I was out of smokes, so instead of taking my quick 4-block route home, I decided to go the long way, via our corner store, to resupply myself (snow being forecasted for the next day, stocking up felt essential) and what the heck, grab a bottle of evening vino while I was at it.
I love going to the corner place that I have chosen to frequent over the years, because something rare and wonderful happens when I go in there: the guy who is always on shift in the evenings smiles big, says hello, and we chat about how we’ve been since the last time I was in. I call this rare, because it’s an experience that I seldom have here in Denver, for some reason. It only happens in a couple of places, this corner store being one of them. It’s NICE to be recognized and chatted with. It makes one feel like a part of their neighborhood. Usually, unfortunately, my typical experience contains more grumpies and “here’s your change” and a “why are you smiling at me” sort of vibe, which is kind of sad. Same thing on the street…if I try to smile and greet someone on the sidewalk, in passing, the response I get more often than not is something akin to having Mandrakes growing out of my ears. Sometimes people are friendly back, but more of them are not. Which means I’ve all but given up on it. Which sometimes makes me one of those pavement-starers, too. Sigh. People just move too fast, get in their own bubble. It’s a vicious cycle, and one I look forward to bursting out of when I move South, where I’ve always been overjoyed about the niceness of people. But I digress.
So I hooked myself up, left the corner store smiling, and ambled home the “City Way,” which is what I call this particular route because it brings me out of the nestled quiet arena of my usual path, out of the alleys I shortcut through, and out into the open. And when it’s evening and you start getting sunset action to boot, it makes a lovely walk, and I decided to snap some photos with my phone to document it.
Knowing that you are inevitably going to leave a place makes you once again notice the things that have become mundane, or over-familiar. Case in point: en route to the corner store, I walked past the Governor’s Mansion. I walk past the Gov’s Mansion every day, and it occurred to me yestereve that, “HEY! I’m walking past this place that a lot of people go out of their way to come see, and I hardly even notice it anymore!” Which made me notice it. That sort of thing. The rest of my walk home felt the same, hence the photo documentation.
This is Lincoln Avenue, right after I stepped out of the corner store all happy and feeling a part of things. Denver really is a pretty city. And it never ceases to astonish me, the almost visceral border between the nest of neighborhoods off of this street, and the City Vibe that happens once you stroll out onto it. The world just seems to suddenly get bigger.
After meandering up Lincoln I turn onto 10th.
Along 10th, there’s this wacky little apartment alcove, with a yard lamp sticking up out of a bunch of ground-covering ivy. I’ve always loved the way the depth of the ivy surrealizes the perspective in this spot. Every time I walk by it, it gives me this…LionWitchWardrobe/GaimanNeverwhere sort of feeling. I want to come back and take better shots with my real camera, but for now this will do.
And then I met my nemesis. An icy stretch of sidewalk. This is from the last time it snowed. Snowmelt and ice recession vary from block to block down in this area. Since I’m always out walking around, I’ve become familiar with the Problem Spots. Nothing is worse, for me, than peacefully ambling about, head up, eyes looking around, lalala, and then coming across a Problem Spot. Because then, I have to mush my way over it and pray I don’t take a dive. By this time in the season, I fairly well have my snow-ice legs on, but one can never be too careful, particularly when one’s back is on the fritz and a dive would mean certain devastation.
After surviving my icy nemesis (and that was really nothing, really, but it’s fun to complain about) – this is the Colburn hotel. I’ve heard tell that Kerouac slept there on one of his many cross-country sojourns which, true or not, is right up my particular alley. The Colburn also houses my favorite neighborhood piano bar, Charlie Brown’s, which I love not only for the food and exemplary happy hour but also because it is a mere 1 block from my abode. In addition, the Colburn hosts my Chiropractor’s office. Booze and back-poppin’, all a mere stroll from my front door. What more could a girl ask for?
And then, verily, I was home. I walked the dog in the park next door (and discovered that someone had made a snow angel on the ground out there which, to the uninitiated would seem pretty and sweet and seasonally festive, but which gave me the heebie jeebies because the public space is used for just about every dawg’s duties in a several-block radius and I KNOW what’s under that snow) and then came up and enjoyed a beverage and the rest of the sunset.