I woke up with barges of sleep in my eyes and I had to check the calendar – was it Tuesday or Wednesday? Was it October already, or was September still hanging around like a slapped lover? Coffee on, hounds out for a whiz, cat meowing and drinking from the toilet, no towels in the bath, stumble down to the laundry room FUCK nothing dry, breakfast: PB & J on bread that has just expired. In the shower, out. Bedroom dark, wife still sleeping, try not to wake her, click the lamp on, dressed, mismatched socks (only found out later in the day). Slip on the boots, sling the pack over my back, out the door. Twist the deadbolt shut and turn around. Look up. Stop dead. An audible “wow” escapes my mouth. Hanging in the southern sky, frameless and huge, Orion the hunter keeping the peace, his belt of nebulae hanging low. Amazing, I think, because pristine views are increasingly rare in our fair burg, what with the crunch of industry only a few km’s from my house. The Seven Sisters set low and to the east looking smashing; Sirius to the west, a fading lighthouse for the sundown a half day later. I smile at the sight and sip my coffee. Slow down the walkway, my head up the whole time. The moon hangs out just above: gives me a nod and says, “remember this.” Tighten my pack straps. Mitts on. Zipper to chin. One foot in front of the other, sidewalk dark.
Living room, August 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?