Maggie's Park

Since we went back to the apartment and have become cliff dwellers (never thought I’d be one of those) I wondered if I was going to be okay with that. You know, I like my space and especially that outside, peripheral kind of space – nature, squirrels, birds, trees, grass – all the good stuff. Initially, it didn’t seem too hopeful – at least not as far as I could see. While the surrounding area and the area in general is pretty and there are lots of trees everywhere, it still struck me as pretty urban. Looking out the livingroom window gives me a nice treeline view but that was about it.

Having a dog in an apartment means that you do a lot of walking. Happily, the man really loves the little runt so he started taking her out in the mornings so I could either sleep in a little or just wake up a little more slowly, stumble into my clothes and sip coffee. Soon, I began to notice that these little excursions took longer and longer. References to the ‘park’ across the street were plenty and I was a bit curious. Whenever I looked across the street, all I really saw was a stand of trees and I guess I figured that was all it was. But Maggie’s utter exhileration when she returned home from one of her park jaunts was intriguing to me, so I resolved that I would take her to the park myself to check it out.

So, off we went… the tunnel of trees you see in the above picture is a sort of ingress into the park. I was impressed. I’m not sure the picture really expresses the sort of magical sense you get as you walk under it, through it. They are set up on an embankment, steeply sloped on either side. Being a dog, Maggie can manuever the incline without a thought, me, not so much. So, gingerly I tippy-toed down the embankment to the left and we came into a park a really lovely park that was so much more than I ever thought would be there. In fact, it is almost like being in another world.

Perhaps it is reminicient of parks of my childhood years, with wide expanses of lawn, picnic tables, countless trees, gazebo’s and walking paths. A sort of nature expanse in the middle of urban living seems to sound right.

Maggie was very anxious to show me around and since the man lets her run free without the incumberance of a leash, she was less than patient with me as I kept her tethered and admonished her for dragging me through the place, tripping and stumbling half the time. Maggie had some serious sniffing to do and I was clearly impeding her progress.

She knew all the right pee spots and which way to drag me at any given moment. Should anyone have the nerve to come and disturb our peace (it’s such a big park that you really do feel that you have it all to yourself and feel a little startled when you discover someone else is actually there) she would bark her most ferocious bark, signaling they should back off from her turf.

After that first trip to the park and since then Maggie’s park has become my park too. I look forward to taking her there – to just be in the nature space, to feel like maybe it’s just a really big front yard for our little apartment that we occasionally let others use. Whenever we take Maggie out, she always tries to drag us that way – it certainly has become hers in her eyes. And really who could blame her?

UPDATE: So a couple of you have mentioned snow and ironically enough we got some this morning and I took a few snaps – here’s one:

How’s that? 😉

Safe

I think it is human nature to want to feel safe. At least it feels perfectly natural to me to want that. To want that sense of security, familiarity, travel among the known elements. To feel comfortable. It’s probably why I lived in California for so long, it was safe. I knew it. Pretty much every nook and cranny of it and the nooks and crannies I didn’t want to know I left alone. Though I can still remember when I first arrived there, it seemed so foreign and strange. And for I do believe it was years, I muttered about hating L.A. and wanting to leave. Yet, I never did. Why? I really couldn’t say. Perhaps it was because I just got used to it and too, where would I go? Back to Michigan with it’s cold winters and bad job market? Unless I wanted to build snowmen and cars there was nothing for me there either.

So, I stayed in L.A. and somewhere along the line I came to love it. I came to love the mostly clement weather. The sunshine. The fresh produce year round. The clubs, the music, the bizarre individuals who gravitated there. The shopping. The bargains. The fact that one out of ten homeowners had guest houses and they were cute and cheap and I lived in many of them over the years. In short, at some point it just became home to me.

Which is not to say that there weren’t things about it that annoyed me – the largely whacko politics, the streams of endless illegal immigrants that made ingress into certain neighborhoods nearly impossible, the smog, the noise, the weirdness. Part of me would always be a midwestern girl and that part would always complain about such things. Though after a while I just didn’t think about it – it was simply home.

Since my move from L.A. to the east coast though, I’ve been thinking a lot about it. What makes home to a person. What makes life seem safe. I’ve begun to notice all the many things (large and small) which I took for granted – where to find a bargain, drumming up work, where to find the best produce, finding a bank, grocery store and the dmv, the local triple a office, where to go to the movies, the library, used bookstores, which are the safe neighborhoods. The whole ball of wax. I guess it never occurred to me (why that is I can’t tell you) that there would be so many details that would be blank when I got here. It never occurred to me that I would feel a little wobbly and in fact, dizzy, disoriented and even a little lost. It may surprise you to know that I’ve barely driven since I’ve been here. The whole street pattern is so different from what I’m used to that I’m just too worried I’ll get lost or end up on the dreaded freeway which has a notorious reputation. I don’t really like to drive that much anyway, so having that as a phobia kind of cinches that, eh?

And I know I need to. I need to drive around and get to know the place. I need to find the details that make up one’s daily life. I need to develop new favorites, new places, new haunts. I need to find that way to make the new my home. To find the ‘safe’ in the new place. Wish me luck.