Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...


Monday, January 24, 2011

Rhapsody Of A Small Town

The first white-gold of day lights up the town, fills warm, dusty bedrooms, and floods in through bright kitchen windows. Right outside the side door, it is completely white--like a great iced cake--calm, still and spectacularly cold. The cold is brag-worthy, which is fine, because that’s what we do around here; we talk about the cold. We marvel at the cold. We boast about the cold. We lament it. We live it.



Somewhere, everywhere here, people are getting ready for the day. They’re in their big, drafty, run-down old houses, on their narrow, cracked streets. The hum of overworked furnaces hangs in the air, as some make breakfast and others go without. Kids get the knots brushed out of their hair, and are pushed out the door again. They ride in school busses, or their parents’ crappy car, and most of them lament the loss of the weekend freedom. They carry their worn-out Walmart running shoes in their Walmart backpacks, while wearing their Walmart pants, shirts, socks, underwear, boots, coats, hats, mittens and scarves.


They leave their parents to their worries, their frettings, their minimum wage struggles or their joblessness. All roads lying NORTHSOUTH are jammed. A warm line of exhaust fumes. A train is coming. It cuts the entire city in half, and brings Rush Hour to a grinding hault. The train goes on its way. The gates swing open, and they're on their way again, to inch and push up those pot holed roads.


The sky-high hotels and tourist traps entice visitors by creating a wall—blocking out the ghost factories, the struggling city; its residents so mired in their own apathy, they’ve forgotten the beauty a mere ten minutes away from their own derelict neighbourhood: one of the world’s seven wonders, in fact.


And they drive. They drive in their rattling cars, and white mini vans, and their working-man’s trucks, and they smoke. They all smoke, it seems, and everyone has a cup of Tim’s strong coffee in their hand, or a discarded paper Tim’s cup on the floor of their vehicle.


I step out into that cold, sparkling morning, let the dry ice air hit my lungs and I walk. I pull my girl by the hand, helping her through the snow.  My boy drags along behind endlessly fussing and fidgeting against his cumbersome snowpants and coat.  The snow squeaks and crunches underfoot, like styrofoam. My jeans feel thin and useless against the sub-zero temperature. I kiss each of them goodbye when they're delivered to their destinations, and I walk.  That familiar feeling comes over me again: these are my streets, these are my roads. The house across the road is covered with long, clear icicles.  When I return, it’s just where I thought it would be—my girlie’s pink scarf, right there on the driveway where she dropped it. And I am home.

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post karen. You brought back to me the reasons why I left the Falls. I couldn't stand the decaying-ness around me. Bad decision making....taking out the only bridge by Chatters to go over the train so now when there is a train it cuts the city in half.
    INproper planning on traffic flow..allowing land to be developed instead of redeveloping older areas ...because someone important owns the land and is friends with the mayor. Never seen so much corruption. Don't get me started on the hotel owners either. Such a shame how they ruined what could have been a beautiful city. The casino brought so much crime and crap as well as awful jobs.
    And now a Walmart superstore? Could they not knock down the old one no they have to mow over more land!!

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  2. You jut described to me why I left the prairies....Oh the bitter cold. The frozen steering wheel. The rock hard frozen seats...ugh. A well written descriptive post.

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  3. you walk in that weather? voluntarily? makes me think of living in ny for so many years and freakin awful the cold was in the winter.

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  4. poetic as always...

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  5. Actually, what I got from your blog Karen is that there is beauty even in the sadness and poverty.

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  6. and that despite all its misgivings... it is comforting and it is home.

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  7. yeah, it's beautiful to me. In all its ugliness, and decrepitude, with decaying buildings and surprisingly ugly streets behind the pretty street, but it's like the back of my hand, so it's comforting.

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  8. I do indeed walk in that weather! I try to walk all the time for my own sanity, and so I don't blow up and morph into KAREN WINTER FATTY. Har har...

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  9. ha! you said karen winter fatty.

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  10. yeah, that sounds funny...until ya see me naked.

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  11. oh puhlease! i try to avoid even seeing myself naked!

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  12. I'm compelled to look. I'm always thinking it got better overnight.

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  13. Actually, while I see the decline, there is still a lot to love about that city, more than just memories and familiarity.

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