The soft tinkle of the rain matches the arriving hour. The slow hour is here and soon the slow season will drape her red and orange lovelies all over the place and turn the city into a colorful boudoir. The asphalt collects itself in the cool breeze; takes the rain as a well-earned coat of lustre. Cars roll by and that sound they make, that hissing whitewall sound, puts a smile on my face. A white taxi cab pushes by and for a moment I can smell that old Crown Vic cigarette stench - a classic, beautiful smell so evocative that one is transported when it arrives at the nostrils. A cyclist rides by and whistles something. An Eddie Cochrane song, maybe Mitch Ryder. I snap a photo of wet asphalt reflecting a streetlamp. It should be too dark for photos but the cloudy sky bags some downtown light. The breeze is so very nice and cold across my lonely bookshelf, gentle wind mingling in the pages of books of poetry. I hear the kettle boiling now. There are teabags in an eggshell mug. The rolling cars are fewer and farther between. The darkened trees move and hiss and my curtains gently twitch.
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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?