Despite living in the city for a surprising number of years, I am not a city person. Not even a little. They just keep putting jobs and universities there, and I follow until I have enough letters after my name to move to some secluded university in the New England countryside.
So perhaps it is understandable that as I spend more and more time in the city without escaping, I feel less and less real. Pausing in streets to soak up the rare sunlight, because the buildings block it from the sidewalks. Buying extra-cushioned shoes to walk on the asphalt, because the dirt and grass people’s feet were designed for can’t support the darned number of people everywhere.
Like I said, not a city person.
The cold, unpredictably wet weather makes it difficult to escape to the country for a day without a specific indoor destination in mind for when conditions get really wintery. So we mostly stay in the city and walk, when we walk, by the canal. But today, today is sunny.
From the window of the office kitchen, you can see the Crags, which despite the wind, are still dotted with the odd hiker. As always, I considered it, but the wind really is too brutal up there for enjoyment, for me at least. (I say this based on a year and a half of experimentation.)
Around the bottom edge of the park, though, runs an old wall, and with it a belt of trees and a path on each side. And through the wall in one spot runs a gate, called the Braidwood Gate. And there the wind is less and the sun, when it shines it all, shines there. And there, despite the city all around, the street noise is blocked—perhaps by the trees, or by the not-so-soft sough of the wind—and the untrimmed stands of trees feel wild. On summer nights, the more better-hidden parts are used for parties, as attested by the beer cans, but in the daytime, in the early days of the spring, I have it all to myself.
Of all the places in the city, this is the one where I go to feel most me.