Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dusk walk

It's been a busy, wierd week. China returned our Travel Authorization (yay!) but there's trouble with our 171-H (shit!)...and it won't be resolved - if then - until Monday, so I don't want to say any more about it.

And I am working on the second installment of my ruminations on the parallels I see between our time and the end of the Roman Republic; this about the populares - We, the People. But with all the home-improvement and adoption crises I haven't been able to get all that excited about it. I promise I'll push on and finish this weekend.

No, what I wanted to do was just a little gentle recollection of one of the few slow, happy, peaceful times this past week: Wednesday night when Peeper and I went for a walk abound our block.

The sun was already sinking when we turned right, past the big dogwood in the front yard. Our objective was the new houses - the "construction site" - being built at the corner of N. Yale and N. Monteith. A wonderland of preschool boy adventure.
Along the way, everything has to be checked out. We looked for chickens at the Hippie House on the corner of Amherst & Monteith (no luck - I tried to explain what a "chicken nugget" is, to no avail). We looked for fallen walnuts from the many black walnut trees around our block.

Once at the construction site there were countless delights: lumber to climb, nailgun nails to pick up, walnuts (again!) to toss onto roofs, framing to slither through.
Here's the boy on top of the world. He's much better at climbing up than climbing down, BTW. I had to lift hi down from this one...

We scurried around - okay, HE scurried around and I leaned on framing or sat on stacks of lumber - and enjoyed a pleasantly aimless period in the unfinished houses.
There's a lot of this going around. When we moved here near the turn of the century (funny, to say that...I wonder if people in 1900 felt the same way?) there were still quite a few little houses on standard Portland 50' x 100' lots, or double lots with larger houses on them. We've already had two lots on the N. Yale side of our block subdivided. Now this one. It's the Future, I'm afraid...

Once we'd done enough clambering and nail-picking, Peeper took the camera for his own auteurisme. Here's the resulting photoessay I've called "Peepics"...
I call this one "Redwoods";
Here's "Underfoot". Note the sandal on the wrong foot.
Even the greatest of photographers has to do portrait snapshots sometimes. This is "Daddy"
This is "As the World Turns; a study in concrete". Still on the wrong feet, Peep...
Here's "Falling Dark";
"Study in Concrete and Leaves II";
"Sign of the Times"
At this point I took the camera back.

Three-quarters of the way around the block we turned up our alley. These curious mews are a North Portland artifact. I used to believe them an oversight - public streets never paved and often vacated. But while searching our plat for the new deck permit application I came across the tax lot maps and realized that they're platted public alleys, sub-streets, vestiges of the horse-drawn Portland when you couldn't park your horse on the street overnight. We still turn up remnants of the old stable/garage in our back yard.

I'll have to write about the alleys of North Portland some day.

But not this evening. This was just for strolling, for finding treasures hidden in the long grass behind peoples' houses.

We checked out the plum grave, pulled some more of the nasty deadly nightshade growing along our back fence, and looked to see if we'd caught anything in our powder trap.

By this time evening had truly come: the dragonflies were alight, and it was time to go inside and find our tub, and stories, and sleep.

Today we have lots of plans, friends to vivist with and chores to do, a deck to seal and house to paint. But what a lovely moment to have, last Wednesday evening, to just do nothing and be.

And so...


SBird said...

Congratulations on the TA and the dusk walk...both seem just delightful!!!

I'll await an update on the 171 Peeper going with you to China?

walternatives said...

Sympatico with you on the USCIS woes but BIG CHEERS on your TA. Y'all are moving right along. Kudos on such a lovely post - you're a great dad, Chief, realizing and encouraging simple joys. My fave is the shoe on wood photo. BTW, is it possible for me to buy local black walnuts when we're there? I love them, but they're impossible to find this far south.