Coffee shop, Monday PM. She’s over there, right leg crossed over the left, foot tracing a circle. Brown tumbles dipping just below her glasses. Hardback novel in hand – some fantasy affair with a lavish cover. She’s drinking a “-ccino” something, a cold drink, one of the cafe’s specialties. She must be quite taken with the book ‘cuz she hasn’t sipped her drink in several minutes. The cup is sweating and a small pool is forming. I suddenly notice the bustle in here and the activity of the other patrons threatens to draw my attention away. The simple sight of this woman reading holds me. It may be her calming expression – her ability to seemingly block out what I struggle to. Somehow she seems watchful. I think it’s her bare ankles, veined and weathered, that are the story for me. There’s a lively history written on those glosting ankles. Blue ink on incomplete pages. A map or a white coffee cup. Nice ring on her finger.
Woman's ankle, June 2007
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?