prose sketch: Ottawa Gardens

Last week I wrote part of a post about the movie Dead Poets Society, then lost it when something went wrong with the WordPress auto-save feature. So to get myself posting again, here is a sketch from today’s walk in the neighborhood.

Sun. 28 Apr 2013 1:45 p.m. Ottawa Gardens

The bench is of weathered wood, spotted with lichen. The dedicatory plaque reads:

In honour of
Nann & Alex Wilson
from their highland dancers

The bench rests on a level pad of concrete set into the grass slope of the boulevard. A man in a green ball-cap walks by with a black Labrador on a leash. The dog’s tag jingles and he drags his left forepaw, which is flaccid and useless.

It’s quiet here on 6th Street. Traffic purrs from busier streets that are out of sight. At the west end of the block, to my right, stands the Catholic church, a wooden building painted a cream color and surmounted by the witch’s hat of its steeple. The boulevard is planted with shrubs and small trees: all with pale yellowish spring leaves.

A lone white subcompact car makes its way east, joggling over the speed-bump. Then quiet again.

The sky is cloud-filled: cumulus humps dense enough to have dark-gray bottoms, and beyond them some milky overcast high above. A single pale band of blue runs over the city like a crack of open water in pack-ice.

The houses here are mostly old and valuable, though set close together. The one opposite me is mocha-colored and partly hidden behind a shaggy larch. The architecture is unusual, for the west side of the house is a vertical cliff of two stories, whose roof slopes away to the east in an arc, as though a cylindrical building had been cut in half lengthwise. To its right: a staid Craftsman box; to is left: a rectangular block of a house with four large identical windows along its upper floor that make it look like a little yellow motel.

A light breeze flows over the boulevard. There is faint birdsong and the grating caw of crows. Very young children laugh in a park somewhere out of sight. A skateboarder deploys his board behind me with a loud clap and rolls in pulses up the street, against the sense of traffic that isn’t there.

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