Thursday, October 08, 2009

City



My geography is city.

I love a soft rain hitting city streets, mingling with dust of concrete, dirt washed from tall buildings, and sand in the gutters leftover from ancient snowplowing, creating a subtle and pleasant fragrance available only in an urban center.


I enjoy the smell of asphalt while it's being laid, and then again during intense heat, giving off its tarry aroma for benefit of those who aren't afraid to breathe deep the city's soul.


My spirit soars when I encounter greenery unexpected, public spaces filled with surprising nature, the truly stunning nature of a ballpark when one is young and sees the field for the first time. It is love at first sight.


I walk the streets and know them in the way that cowboys of old knew the trails they rode. They interpreted signs in the dirt and the sky. I register, in my subconscious, things-out-of-place. They avoided rattlers and other natural dangers. I know when to avoid an alley and watch my back. I also know when it's okay to walk without care.


The sound of traffic is background noise, not heard until it reaches a certain startling level (or until a new sound is introduced, perhaps police sirens.)



The neighborhood sounds of my youth...

... the steel wheels of the Mattapan trolley squealing as it rounded the bend leaving Ashmont...


... the church bells that tolled the hour, every hour...


... the whistles that called men to the local factories, and blew again when lunch hour was over and when it was time to go home...



... are all embedded forever in my psyche.

My geography is city. Specifically, Boston.



What's yours?



[Most of the shots are actually of Boston, but a couple aren't. However, they convey the sense of what I wanted to say better than any Boston shots I could find, so I used them, instead. As near as I can understand it, all of the photos used here were free for me to use under the GNU Free Documentation License. If that turns out to not be the case, my next geography may be jail.]


40 comments:

lime said...

what a wonderful ode to home as it is for you. thanks for showing us thourhg your senses. i've long thought about some sort of ode in praise of small towns, since i am neither country or city. this may motivate me to do so sooner rather than later.

thanks, this was just fantastic.

Moannie said...

just love this. And I love the way you are showing us a side of you I didn't know. Suldog the poet, the renaisance man. 'Cool Dude' I think one might say. A great idea, and one that will be taken up, at least by me.

Michelle H. said...

A most poetic post right from the heart. I'm not sure how to answer this, with such emotion and love. Still, it is inspiring...

Brian Miller said...

beautifully written suldog. thanks for giving us the tour as well in the pics. mine is a little more rural, trees ans trails and little squirrl tales...

Granny on the Web said...

Your affection for your home town shines through here Jim.
I have only been the once, to Boston, but it stays in my memories.
I'll visit you in prison... or I might be in the next cell!

Love Granny

Linda said...

Nice post. My geography is definitely rural, and there was a small start of surprise beginning to read this, as I could feel what you were saying.

Daryl said...

I kept hearing the Naked City theme .. okay I know that was a NYC based show but still.

Karen said...

I'd never have guessed you wrote this. Nice to see another side of you - very poetic and endearing.

Thumbelina said...

Wonderful post.
I hear you in this post and it inspires to write.
I might. :)

(word veri is "dangles". Seriously!)

Ananda girl said...

What a wonderful homage to your habitat. I love this one... mind if I steal it? My home is very different, but I like this theme very much. It speaks a lot about you and your world. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself.

David Sullivan said...

That's my childhood!

Uncle Skip, said...

Mines country, but my origins are city, specifically San Francisco. I can totally relate to what you've said.

Eric said...

Great post. I especially like how you compare your own familiarity with the surroundings to cowboys. Nice job.

Buck said...

Nicely done, Jim... especially the photo selections to bolster your comment.

What's yours?

At the moment it's incredibly broad skyscapes... sometimes crystal clear, cloudless cerulean blue; other times it's constantly changing, towering, puffy-white cumulus clouds drifting aimlessly in a 360-degree panorama of wonderfulness. The sky dominates the landscape, which is barren, brown, dusty, treeless, and windswept... except for the (very) small town oases every 30 to 50 miles. Or so. Sometimes it's more, sometimes less.

But I've done that city-thing, too (Deee-troit, LA, SFO, London, Tokyo, among others), and each has its particular charms!

Jazz said...

As a city girl, I love this!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Superb! You are so versatile...you can write humor,commentary,AND poetry... Wow! I'm so impressed, Jim! Love the way you used the photos to punctuate your words! This is amazing! Hugs, Janine

Knucklehead said...

Red Sox aside, Boston is on the list of my five favorite cities. In order:

1. New York (surprise)
2. San Diego
3. San Francisco
4. Boston
5. Seattle

Never been to Chicago, but I'm sure it would make the list. Gotta go to Wrigley eventually.

Nice tribute to your city.

Suldog said...

A couple of you said you'd like to do something similar, or 'steal' this. Please, by all means, DO! I'd love nothing more than to see what other folks did with this concerning their own locales.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Very moving Suldog. You had me at the first smells as I was thinking the same thing recently.. the smell of the rain on the ashphalt..
Makes me realise my memories are nearly all rural England, or certainly much smaller towns or cities in New Zealand!
As I have moved around and lived in many places, I have had trouble identifying with one place as home. When studying NZ bilculturalism, I was asked to list two things that are recognised in Maori Culture: what body of water did I identify with and which mountain. My overwhelming response was firstly to Loch Tummel in Pitlochry where I holidayed regularly as a child, and to Mount Manaia in Whangarei, New Zealand where I had also once lived for many years. It was an interesting delve into memories and their meanings to us as individuals...

Teacher's Pet said...

We'll bail you out....
I read everything twice (why..?)
Dunno...maybe I'm slow...or just wanted to relish in the words...and I enlarged the photos.
I'm glad I did both. This is a very good post, Jim. (I love the smell of fresh asphalt...and I also love a smell that I wondered if anyone else loves besides me...that of gas and oil mixed that exudes from an outboard motor.... I know. I'm a strange cookie...but wanted to share.)
Thank you for sharing your sensory images of your hometown.
Love from Jackie

Hilary said...

Ahh you brought me home, Suldog. Except it was Montreal rather than Boston. .. a city I love because it does remind me of Montreal. ;) I love this post. You never fail to surprise and please.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

What a great post!

I flew into Boston, from Paris, and my husband and I planned on staying for a week or so, (I have never been), but he had to get back home to work. Bummer! This was during the fall, my goal is to tour New England in the fall. I'll say this, the city was picturesque from the air. I was sad. The airport was all I got to see.

My geography is The Pacific Northwest, the woods, the blue sky, the water. I was born and raised up there and I will never be truly at home in California, although I do love it here. I'm afraid my heart belongs up north, but my family is here, so here I stay.

Whalehead King said...

You are more poet than poetaster. Bravissimo.

Desmond Jones said...

Great post, Sully. . .

I too am a city dweller, altho the cities of my life have, for the most part, been considerably smaller.

I grew up in what you would probably call a small town, altho for the surrounding area, we were definitely 'The City'.

These days, I live in a more 'medium-sized' city, with both 'big city' and 'small town' aspects to it. Partly industrial midwest, altho the state capitol and a Big Ten university give it a 'cosmopolitan' aspect, as well. . .

♥ Braja said...

Great writing, Jim....mine is both city and village: from the raucous symphonies in Calcutta, to the sweet sounds of stillness and quiet in my village, both I love...

Jeni said...

I've never been to Boston -never been further north and east than New York City as a matter of fact. But reading your post, seeing the pics you posted and especially the panorama skyline shot -it's easy enough to see why you -or anyone for that matter would love these views, mental pictures or regular photographs, either way -it's beautiful. You should be a promo person for Boston and surrounding areas!

Theresa said...

Wow! Kudos!

Carolina said...

A wonderful poetic post.
You need to stop taking the medicine now ;-)

Jenn said...

This whole post made me nostalgic even though I live here! Perfectly said, and nice selection of photos to match. No jail time, grey concrete and bars are totally unattractive; no view of Fenway or sound of church bells in there!

Ruth and Glen said...

Loved this post ! I was born and raised in NYC and it really triggered memories similar to my own. ~Ruth~

Woman in a Window said...

Suldog, you almost make me get soft toward cities...almost. I suppose I could be if I'd spent any time in one, fallen in love in one, touched strangers in one. I always felt out of place in cities but I've only ever known Taipei or Dayton, Ohio. Neither a city of the heart, I think. I'm all country, Canada goose honk, leaf ruffling, bear tearing off neighbour's head. You know...ahhhh...home.
xo
erin

Ragtop Day said...

A bit behind in my blog reading, and just wanted to join the fray and say I love this. My geography is not city, and yet, if I have a city, it is Boston. I can particularly relate to seeing Fenway Park for the first time (and each time after that, for that matter!)

I think I will give this a try soon. Thanks!

Maggie May said...

I am also living in a large city so that I find myself agreeing with all the things that you mention!
Thanks for showing me the kind of things that you like in your city!
Congratulations on Hilary's POTW!

Nuts in May

Gaston Studio said...

You totally made me remember why I miss my hometown of Savannah GA so much! Lovely post Sully,lovely. And congrats on Posts of the Week mention.

ds said...

This is beautiful (believe it or not I think I liked the b&w factory shot best): recognized "The Monstah" instantly. Boston is a wonderful place to be. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your well deserved POTW.

TSannie said...

Neat geography post - I can see why Hilary chose it!

Gary Heller said...

Excellent, I love all these things about the city as well. I alos love the smell of gasoline at the station on a hot summer day.
Great photos especially the one of the factory with its reflection in the water.
Dropping over from Hilarys blog

The Things We Carried said...

I love how you did this post. I had no idea you this artistic side, though I know you CAN write!

Too many places for me to choose only one to belong to.

Congrats on POTW!

(I am still planning a Christmas First post, I can only find the time before Thanksgiving!) :)

Thumbelina said...

Congratulations on your POTW mention at Hilary's!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Great photos!! Reminds me of my Chicago days. Congrats on the POTW Award from Hilary!!