Thursday, December 20, 2012

Welcome to the Neighbourhood

Bottom left: a view of The Cut from a bridge that spans it; Dress, boots, rug (and all furniture seen here): thrift/vintage.
I live mere meters from a narrow valley, known as The Cut because it cuts diagonally through the city. Though it's now used for two rapid transit lines and the train tracks (which necessitate that I sleep with earplugs or don't sleep at all), it is still a haven for wildlife. I've seen skunks, racoons, feral cats (that my landlords have trapped, one by one, fixed, inoculated, and begun to feed), eagles, hawks, ravens, and any number of smaller birds -- all from my balcony. My downstairs neighbour saw a coyote the other day. (I've also seen any number of types of drug addicts, sleeping under the bridge, staggering down the street, yelling at no-one, and shooting up in our yard.)

I love this sense of being in an urban setting but still close to nature... and a fairly benign, clement nature too, never really too hot or too cold and absolutely abundant with life. This land here is utterly fecund. The mild climate and the rain make it emerald all year round. As is becoming evident on this blog, I even like the mold, mildew, and moss that creep into everything and make it all green green green.

Green, especially subdued, mossy greens, also suit me. It brings out the red in my hair and the hazel in my eyes, both of which usually appear plain old brown. Soft greens are in my home, my makeup, my jewelry, and my wardrobe.
I adore living a real neighbourhood, where everyone really does know everyone, and most shops and stores are owned by individuals or small families, not large corporations. There are untold perks to living in such an area. All the shop owners know about my disability and are happy to make special arrangements for friends to pick up my stuff, for me to carry my stuff home a few items at a time, or whatever else seems to work for me. Everyone has his or her favourite Italian cafes where the people behind the counter are also the owners and know their customers well, and the customers know each other well too.

And then there's Morgan the cat, twenty years old, stone-deaf, and deeply loved. She lives in a regular house but she chooses to divide her days between a local restaurant, and store, where she has special bed and food dishes on top of their safe. People come in to visit her all day every day, bringing her food and love. I met her the day after my twenty year old cat, also named Morgan, also deaf, also deeply affectionate, died, so she has a very special place in my heart.

Of course, neighbourhoods have their problems too. There are a lot of hard drugs in this neighbourhood. One learns to tell who's high and on what, who's tweaking, which high or tweaking people are safe, and which ones to avoid. These are finger marks on the wall outside of a methadone clinic.

Gold and coral ring: vintage gift from Beau; Costume ring and hat: Barefoot Contessa
I love how making this blog has made me take notice of patterns and colours repeating themselves on micro and macro levels and everything in between. I'd never really paid attention to this condo building until this day, but suddenly they perfectly echoed my ring and a sort of reverberation of beauty asserted itself into my consciousness.
Brooch: vintage; Raincoat: London Fog; Boots: thrift; Scarf: gift
This scarf was given to me by an older, very funky, cool, stylish, Japanese ESL student in New York. I'd become too homesick for my west coast neighbourhood to stay in New York. To say goodbye, she and others took me out for the Japanese feast of my life and then, as the night drew to a close, she pulled me into her arms, wrapped this soft scarf around my neck, and said, "I love you. Always remember me."

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