Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sunday in the park with alice

On Sunday, I put my music in a backpack and headed off to church. I gave myself almost an hour and a half to get there because... well... walking tourists are easily distracted!
As I walked down Linden Avenue, I noticed a large, hand-painted sign stuck in a lawn in front of a house. "Stop the war" was written on it in red lettering. It was a sturdy sign and I hoped that many people saw that message, as they traveled on Linden Avenue.
I then turned down Colvin Avenue and passed the fire house, walked under the railroad bridge, crossed Amherst Street on what looked like a brand-new crosswalk, and entered Delaware Park. I had to walk around a little bitty fence. But walking around fences is one of my talents! I have managed to walk around and crawl under a variety of fences, either to prove a point (at Fort Benning, for example) or to have an adventure.
Delaware Park was full of people enjoying the pleasurable weather of late spring. Contrary to public opinion, it doesn't snow in Buffalo 365 days of the year! Um. And it's not true that the only two seasons in Buffalo are Winter and the Fourth of July! But I digress.
In the park, I saw people walking, jogging, riding in-line skates, riding bicycles, playing tennis, and walking dogs. Some men were getting ready for a baseball game. They were all indulging in batting practice, each one swinging bats at nothing, as no one was pitching. I walked around part of the walking path that goes around baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and a golf course. Then I headed to the bridge that would take me over Delaware Avenue. I did so without hesitation, even though it was a windy day and I'm afraid of heights.
A man was walking ahead of me. He was already on the bridge. I followed him. If he's not scared to walk over the bridge, I won't be scared, either. Eeek. It's really high up. No it's not. That's just my overly active imagination taking charge. But still. I don't like bridges. OK, I won't look down. I discovered that I was walking faster and faster and faster. My goal was to reach the speed limit sign. I can do that. Oh my, I'm starting to sound like the Little Engine that Could.
Sure enough, I reached the speed limit sign and walked down the stairs and under the bridge. Over and under in one trip. I then headed off to the other side of Delaware Park. Delaware Park was the crown jewel of the Buffalo Park System designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. A number of years ago, the Scajaquada expressway was built, and that expressway divided the park in half. Why anyone would divide a park in half with an expressway is a mystery to me. But that's what happened. I don't like it, but it can't be undone. I don't think.
In the park, the first thing that I noticed was that the crab apples were starting to grow. Mmmm, crab apples. In the fall, I will have a feast every time that I walk through the park. I remembered that, when I was in the federal prison camp in Danbury, I used to pick crab apples from the trees and eat them up at once. I did that until the geese got aggressive and started protecting their supply of the crab apples that had fallen beneath the trees. They hissed and threatened to bite when I went under the trees. I picked apples fast and returned to my Big Government Job... environmental improvement engineer! (picking up litter)
I hope that Delaware Park doesn't fill up with aggressive geese this fall!
I continued to walk and headed to the path that takes me past Hoyt Lake. The area was full of life and color... purples, yellows, lavenders, pale blues, pinks, reds, many shades of green... As I fingered a primrose, a dog and human approached me. The human told me that the golden retriever's name was Molly and that she was a very sociable dog. She looked at me with happy anticipation, and I immediately began to pet her. She stood and enjoyed the massage that I gave her.
Soon, it was time to continue on my way. I thought that I would take a look at the rose garden. It was in full bloom, with purple, red, pink, white, and yellow roses in a variety of beds. I took photographs and then walked toward the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Crossing the street there is a bit of an adventure in mind reading. One never knows if the drivers are going to think that the stop sign really means something or if it's nothing more than some sort of bizarre decoration on the side of the road. When the first driver went past the stop sign without even pretending to slow down, much less stop, I knew that I had to be either careful, fast, or both in getting across the street. Fortunately, a polite driver stopped and motioned me to go, which I did.
I walked past the art gallery and soon found myself on Elmwood Avenue. This is where I could really indulge in window shopping. Lots of store windows with many colorful things inside beckoned me to stop and look. There were clothing, toys, books, paintings... many attractive things to see. There was also too much litter on the street. I have disliked litter since I was eight years old, which was... um... a long time ago! Some of the trees were surrounded by a large display of weeds, while other trees were surrounded by attractive perennials. I also saw big flowers, colorful ground cover, and large stone planters in front of businesses and houses. It wasn't all a peaceful, calm Sunday stroll, however. An ambulance screeched to a stop in front of a house, followed by a fire truck, even though I could see no evidence of a fire.
I had to keep going, despite my overwhelming curiousity to find out why the ambulance and fire truck were both in front of a house that was most definitely not on fire.
As I walked down Highland Avenue, I saw a cat sitting on a porch. The cat saw me and walked right to me. It was a small black and white cat with long fur.
"meow."
"Hi cat." I began to pet the cat. It rolled on the ground, catching twigs and dust in its fur.
I failed to resume petting the cat.
"MEOW!"
I petted the cat, who continued to roll on the ground.
I was late to the pre-church practice. I had to keep going.
"MEOW!
"Sorry, cat. It's time to go." So I went and the cat stayed on the lawn near the sidewalk, rolling happily and collecting more twigs and dust in its fur.
I arrived at Blessed Sacrament Church, ready to sing... and sure enough, that's exactly what I did.

1 comment:

Tera said...

[I]t's not true that the only two seasons in Buffalo are Winter and the Fourth of July!

This reminds me of a "joke" that Eric Cartman told on South Park long ago: "You know, there are really only two seasons here in South Park. Winter, and July."

There. Now I've digressed on your digression!

Your Sunday walk sounds lovely. But who on earth builds an expressway in the middle of the park? Ew.

My mom is also afraid of heights. There's a bridge over our town creek, and she used to force (I mean, ask!) me to walk next to the railing--so I was the one looking over the side, and she could be farther away.

Stop the war!

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