Woman with Basket.

January 13, 2006

Bit of a cool morn, this one. The breath hangs in the air a bit before dissipating. A skiff of snow on the ground to make things interesting. The University scrugs are shuffling faster, the footsoles on the LRT platform are slushier and the duct tape coveralls are hammering and screwing with a bit of speed. From the south I see a woman approach on her bicycle, rainbow scarf trailing behind her. Her ride is an old red flyer model with a bell and a galvanized kickstand. She’s beautiful by any definition, and the hoary snow just adds to her. She’s got one of those old-school baskets strapped of the front of the thing. A thick wire number that could likely support a grown man, if she were so inclined to carry one. I got a kick out of the heavy chain guard covering the toothed drive wheel. You just don’t see that these days. One final touch made the whole scene memorable. She had five or six plastic red roses garlanded around the basket. Very nice, I must say, what with early January turning the thumbscrews. She passes by slowly and I watch her pedal by, full of labour. As she stops at the corner, I see her brush some snow from those red roses. It’s her subtle movement, or perhaps this drowsy time of day that inspires a feeling of distant comfort; like the whole scene is a thin edge away from a dream.

Vignette #23

StreetRag, An Urban Notebook

StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook

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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.

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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?

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