On Late December Walks

Last night, I took a walk on the way home.

When the light rail train pulled into the North Avenue station, the conductor announced that the train would be stopped there for several minutes, as there was a disabled train ahead of it.

From time to time, I’ll walk from the North Avenue station, past the art college, and cross through the Bolton Hill neighborhood of rowhouses and churches and even a Masonic temple, to reach the subway station. If the train was going to be stopped, I reasoned, I could cover the distance — a mile, roughly — on my own. And I could do something I would like to have done last week — see how that neighborhood was decorated for Christmas, with lights and trees in the windows of the rowhouses — only because of the immense amount of snow we had on the ground would have been impossible.

I disembarked. Crossed the tracks. Started up the hill. And the train immediately pulled away.

The conductor had misinformed us! Had she said nothing, I’d have stayed on the train. It was, shall we say, quite brisk, with terrible winds.

No matter. I’d made my decision. I had to go through with it.

It was a lovely walk. An uneven brick sidewalk. Rowhouses strewn with lights and garland. Some of these houses are three or four storeys tall, and there might be trees in the front windows of each floor. One house, when I looked at it, I noticed that the tree stood in a room with bookshelves to the ceiling on each wall, and the shelves were filled with what I would swear are DAW paperbacks of the 60s and 70s; ever spend time in a used bookstore, and you’ll find tons of their distinctive spines. Another house had a poster of some sort taped to the front window; I stopped, took a look, and it was a facsimile of the “War Is Over” advertisement that John Lennon and Yoko Ono took out in newspapers back in ’69.

All in all, it was a pleasant walk. There were few people out in the chill air, and the neighborhood looked beautiful.

Of course, had I stayed on the train, I’d have gotten to the subway station fifteen minutes sooner. :/

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