I stayed late at the office the other night. Not because I had a sea of paper to deal with. Not quite that committed. I stayed late so that I could take a bit of a stroll through the industrial park at night. It’s just so damn beautiful in its lonely bleak. Not a soul around. Everything locked up until the AM. Gentle drift of snow through the streetlights. Just the comfortable orange of sodium-flavoured lamps to warm the place up. Light fixtures placed 3/4 of the distance to the roof and at 16 foot intervals on the walls of buildings. Not enough light to work by, but enough to give dim highlight to the time-stained wallblocks. The chain link fences all hold a bit of snow; little rails that just barely rest on the inner diamonds of the fence. Mysterious footsteps in the snow tell an 8am story of toil and sweat. Oil stains in the snow from long-neglected, barely afforded vehicles. The utility train tracks – seldom used by my count – are ghostly in the snow, but somehow gorgeous. Tire tracks frozen into the road, they’ll be overwritten tomorrow. Car headlights off in the distance, t-boning the plane of this street. The crunch of snow underfoot and the always-there city noise in the background. The late bus makes its lonely way through the place. Nobody’s on it when I board.
Snow Field - Night
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?