If I could have had a video camera mounted to my cap just now, I’d treat you all to some lovely, peaceful scenes of my neighborhood flying past as I whirred by on my 10 speed. I’ve been bike riding a lot this summer, and usually I set off first thing in the morning, but today being Saturday we all slept in a little late, so the bike ride was postponed until dusk.
For some reason the neighborhood looks different at sundown than it does at sunrise. A little rougher, a little less safe. Don’t know if it’s the thought of impending darkness, or just that there are more clumps of people hanging around (i.e. teenagers with baggy pants, cell phones, and dogs), or the fact that I took a left turn out of the driveway instead of my usual right. Anyway, I felt a small inkling of discomfort tonight, made more intense by the fact that I left my own cell phone at home. Reminder to self: Start riding with cell phone and/0r some ID.
Once I crossed over Six Mile road, the main east/west thoroughfare that bisects my travels, and headed toward my usual ride through Lola Valley Park and over into Western County Club territory, I felt a bit more at ease. There are some lovely homes sprinkled throughout this area, homes circa 1960-1970, each one slightly different, most of them with nicely manicured lawns and bounteous, colorful flower beds.
I’ve written about this before, but I like the fact that there’s history here. Oh, nothing like the history you might find in small New England towns, and certainly not the history in European countries. But for an American suburb, there’s some legs in this township. After all, it was the mid 1850’s when the first settlers paddled their canoe down the very river I pedal past on my daily bike rides.
A blogger friend and I were talking a bit about that earlier today, discussing choices of cities. She chose her current city over another one close by because it seemed “more seasoned.” I can understand that completely…our town is quite well seasoned, and after living in Naples, which is certainly a more esthetically beautiful place but pretty devoid of history, I know exactly what she means.
But I’m kind of afraid for my town. More than “kind of,” actually. It’s been hit hard by the economy, and there have been a lot of homes lost in foreclosure. There is a different socio-economic feel to the city here, lots of empty businesses that haven’t recovered. Property values are low, the lowest in a long time, and not likely to rise significantly any time soon, if ever.
So I add that to my list of worries about where to go and what to do. I’ve lived here almost my entire life, which is rare enough. I’d like to think I could live here for a long time to come, or at least until I have to move because I need more assistance with living.
But make no mistake – the longer I stay, the more that’s going to hurt, in every possible way. As the song goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”
There are the thoughts that flash through my mind as I pedal full tilt up and down the neatly paved roads, the wind in my face, cool breeze in my hair, and the weight of history on my shoulders.