Sick last week and work didn’t let up a hair so I had to haul my sorry carcass into the office for 4-1/2 days out of five. Took a round out of my lungs and my writing discipline – thus the dearth of stuff here last week. Thankfully, for a few days I had access to a vehicle which I drove to work. Got reacquainted with Dylan’s Street Legal and fell in love with it all over again. ‘Ol Bob sure could wail when he wanted to. Crushing traffic and driver assholishness got me real comfortable with my raging, misanthropic side. I think I busted a windshield, but I might be wrong. Didn’t stick around long enough to verify.
On the 128 to Westmount again. One of the maker-stained red seaters, and dammit, I’m lucky enough to get a seat that was repaired and overstuffed. It’s a darker red than the rest of the seats and twice as comfortable. Not a hint of defacement. Nice to see the familiars that I never talk to but know nonetheless. Hair’s all the same, shoes a little lighter, jackets shedding weight into spring, new driver at the wheel. He’s on time. Bus barrels up Groat northbound and dips into the valley. He rocks along at about 70 km/h, black sludge windrows blurry through the stained window. We’re approaching my favorite spot on the run. These days, at 7:36am, the sun is in full morning burn and looks amazing when crossing the Groat bridge. In my humble opinion, this is one of the great sights in this city – one that is visible for a moment only, at certain times of the year only: The buildings of downtown lit from behind and silhouetted onto a fading spur of pink sky with the white river ice glistening in the morning air. A small thing and a short moment but one that I always appreciate. Occasionally I see a fellow bus rider taking in the sight. Slight glances, vague acknowledgments, short pauses from the routine. On a rare occasion someone will track the sun; look at it until the bus disappears up the bends of Groat Road. I like it when I can tell that someone sees what I see. It’s those small things that make riding the bus worthwhile. To be alone amongst people. That is why I ride.
[Sorry about the lack of a photo here today – my server is misbehaving – MG]
StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook
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?