sylvan park. my sweet, welcoming, quite eclectic, walk-taking, bike-riding, neighbor-greeting, alley-wandering, sun-shining neighborhood is soon to become not mine anymore, if [hopefully] only for a short while. following the marriage of my roommate, it is now a good idea for me to vacate...a really good idea. who thought of that idea?...i think i did. i have resolved to live with the folks for a couple of months in order to gain some ground on my finances, and this is a smart move (i'm just full of smartness), however it means a time away from my beloved belonging to such a place. having lived here for almost five years, it has come to feel almost more like home than my childhood home, which is a strange feeling. i have combed the craigslist classifieds, driven my truck or ridden my bike up and down these streets repeatedly, alas, the right rental option has not yet presented itself.
this evening i took a ride on my bike. her name is goldie -- she's one of the beach-crusier-style, and she weaves through these streets so perfectly. it's like she was made for me and this little maze of nashville streets named for western states. up 42nd, i wave at the man who sits on his porch with his large black dog in his white athletic socks pulled up to the knee. i ride over a few blocks on colorado, past my old house and old neighbors with their perpetually shifting yard art. up 40th, i landed at the produce place, this neighborhood's supply for such things as heirloom tomatoes, home-grown pole beans, fresh figs, farmer cheese, spicy jamaican ginger beer and all sorts of other organicky things. there's a girl who works behind the counter and tonight she looked straight out of a renaissance festival -- complete with floral wreath on her head. in her gauzy orange embroidered blouse, she breezed the tomatoes and zucchinis on and off of the scale with ease and smiled peacefully. i plopped my brown paper sack, now heavy with ripe pink lady tomatoes, yellow squash, and my weakness, a jar of pickled okra (the "hot" kind) into my bike basket and leaned heavy on the right pedal to propel myself down murphy road.
i rode through the lot of the gas station which sells terribly expensive gas, but where i like to stop every once in a while to support and say hello to the barely-english-speaking brothers who own it. i wonder why i've never asked where their homeland is. in addition to gasoline and coca-cola, they offer cookies and candies that i can't pronounce or identify, jars of preserved eggplant, rustic breads, and various oils and vinegars. i tooled past my favorite italian restaurant in town, caffe nonna, where my waiter of choice is john michael because he always recognizes me and tells me about his recent bike races and his mean cats. at about 4 in the afternoon, when i'm normally driving past on the way home from work, the scent of garlic hangs deliciously in the air around the little hole-in-the-wall place, and compels me to go home and make some marinara of my own.
i pumped my way up the incline as murphy turned into 46th with a curve, and whistled a tune as i pulled into the immaculate drive of some friends who have just moved into a lovely, lovely home on nebraska. we chatted for a bit, and spoke of how "we HAVE to find [me] a place to live in this neighborhood!!" yep, no kidding. this sense of community will be missed in the few short months i'll be away from here...but i'm thinking optimistically, spreading the word as efficiently as I know how, and waiting for a little cottage to pop up in my path one of these days.
i'm sitting on my porch swing (which jason hung up just in time for me to have a few evening sit-a-spells before i go), inhaling the metallic, wet-pavement, summertime-lips-to-the-garden-hose scent of incoming rain. the blackbirds are pecking at the grass, and a silly looking poodle just jingled past with a nice neighbor named gretchen. (i hate poodles.) my yellow squash roasting in the oven is sending good smells out the door, tomatoes are sliced, salted and waiting, the breeze is just so very right, and harry nilsson sings from inside the house "how can i be sure of you in a world that's always changing..." huh. (great song, check it out.)
the good news about the land, streets, people and houses that belong to this neighborhood? they don't go anywhere.