Fall is the time for endings and beginnings. The trees teach us that, and here in our neighborhood I have lots of teachers!
The huge oaks and chestnut trees are shedding their leaves, which have danced all summer long.
They are casting their collective futures to the wind as seeds come clonking to the ground. Acorns, chestnuts, fir cones, and tiny maple helicopters fall and fly and eventually pile up, hoping to find just the right place to take root.
I think it is fitting that our human institutions are tied to this idea of endings and beginnings. Summer ends, school starts. Elections allow for new directions for our city and country.
As I have said before, cities, and even small neighborhoods, are always changing. The other day we got to watch it happen and talk to the folks behind it!
On the corner of Belmont Street and 34th, just a block from our house, is a small family-run store called the Belmont Market. It has been there for many, many years, changing hands but basically staying the same.
The painted front of the store was old and sort of, well, sloppy. It took a while looking at it to realize it was, indeed, a market. I am sorry to say that it was so unspectacular that I never even took a picture of it!
Tuesday afternoon we saw that the old front had been painted over, and a promising new front had begun.
Wednesday, as we were walking to lunch, we noticed some lovely people up on ladders, lettering and continuing the new work.
I stopped by to tell them what a great job they were doing, and got to visit with Janet, the designer and head painter. She told me that they were working with the Portland Street Art Alliance, the same group who has painted so many of the other murals we love.
In addition to rainbows and sunshine and fine lettering, they will paint a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and a bottle of Underwood wine on the sign, as advertisements. For this, the Pabst and Underwood companies have paid them enough to pay for the paint. The design and painting was done as volunteer work, for the good of the neighborhood.
This coming together of volunteer and paid work, private and public cooperation, and art and commerce just makes me happy. I love my new city!
There are so many beautiful, huge, really old trees in our neighborhood. Today, there is one less.
Down the block, between us and Babydoll Pizza, a giant mimosa tree has stood for, I would guess, 50 years, probably planted when the house we are living in was new.
Yesterday we saw the cherry picker drive up, along with a trailer, grinder, and compost truck. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the fellows doing the work…they were busy doing loud, hazardous work, and it was really cold. So I took photos from our window and thought about change.
I loved the trees because they were majestic and spoke of history and caring for one’s urban environment. They were part of this city that is so completely different from whence I came. I longed for change, and found it here. I found a new status quo.
And now they are gone, and that new status quo is different. I am still figuring out how I feel about that.
One change we love and count on is the flamingo drama down the street. They have now been celebrating New Year’s Eve for several days and looks like they had a marvelous time!