Out walking this morning with my brother in the middle zone of the Highands, looping around Penniman, outer Cupples Square, Liberty, Calvary Baptist Church, South Walker, Shaw, Eastern Electrical Repair, the Morey School, our one-and-only urban glacier monument, and the Donut Shack. Strong sunshine even with weather reports calling for some amount of snow tonight. Hard to believe. The Donut Shack owner said he’d put away his shovel and sand. Let it melt this time if it comes, he said.
Three-story maples blushed with buds, but most of the other trees and bushes have yet to make the seasonal turn. A few side gardens showed shoots of tulips and daffodils. For the rough winter the yards for the most part did not look like disaster zones. Dirty mounds of crusted snow persist in shady areas, but all but the iciest of snowbanks have leaked into the street drains. A couple of days of 65 degree sun will do that. We’ve got a pile at the end of our driveway that used to be six feet high; the last foot-and-a-half doesn’t want to go.
On these streets the houses line up like soldiers in ranks, shoulder to shoulder and with front doors commonly opening onto a patch of lawn and the sidewalk. Many old large houses have been converted to duplexes or multi-apartment places, but the majority are single-family homes, as far as I can tell. I’m always surprised at the lack of people on the streets when I walk different sections of the city. It’s usually a weekend morning when I’m walking, but it seems the odds would be in favor of more folks being on their property. Even the dogs were asleep. We saw a tiger cat dash across Hastings. Now, the Donut Shack did have steady business for the 20 minutes that my brother and I sat with coffee and a reward at a table near a spindly ancient cactus feeding on sun rays blasting through the front window. A dozen customers came and went.
We’d been through this sub-neighborhood before a few times, admiring gardens of every growing thing from roses to bamboo. With snow cover gone, we saw the launching pads for the next round of flowers and vegetables—rectangles of soil, platoons of empty pots, defrosted flower boxes. We’ll be back for the progress report.