Monday, August 08, 2011


I slipped into the city swelter a fish returned to spawn...

This line came to me as I walked alongside the Lexington Market to my office. The hot summer smells of roasted peanuts and rotting vegetables, greasy chicken wings, hot tar from the pavers. A thin breeze brushed the city with the faint brine of ocean.

I have not walked this route for two weeks, yet all remained predictable: the commuters rushing to the sanctuary of the University, the young girl squalling in the unattended stroller, the dread-locked man nodding by the wall, the methadone kicking in. It occurred to me I had not missed this five block walk, that the daily ritual depressed me; I had felt lighter walking alongside the soybean fields in North Carolina.

Most of my co-workers drive to work and park in the eleven floors below our offices. They take the elevator and stay all day in hermetically-sealed rooms until their work is done. They take the return elevator to their car, and leave the city for cleaner, safer, antiseptic space. I used to justify my metro commute -- the walk through the hustlers and buskers, the whores and junkies, the workers who sell their wares, the street cleaners and parking lot attendants, the roving gangs of kids out of school -- as a needed dose of reality, innoculation against the sleepiness of the suburbs.

But for two weeks I didn't miss the walk. Now, I feel my edges turning blue. Peace...


  1. I think Congress needs to walk that walk ; )

    I also think this is a fascinating perspective, Linda, the walk that each of us takes everyday, to and from work, the store, etc. It is such a unique path - no one else takes the same walk that you do, unless you work with your spouse, and God help you if you do.

    Thank you for this, very inspiring!

  2. I have soul-stymieing trips like this too often...