Invisible street

This is a place that doesn’t exist. It could, and perhaps it was supposed to, but it doesn’t yet – exist. This is in Old Hickory – a suburb of Nashville, TN.

I first noticed it while on a walk. At the intersection of Jones and 9th, the road stops and there is nothing. Not a house, not a permanent structure. There’s a large fence, and you can see a garage top.  It is a gap.  It is not an empty lot.  Looking to the North-West.

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Here’s the end of the road seen from here, turning to your right if you were facing North. Looking East.

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So I looked online. It is amazing what patterns appear when you look at things from a different perspective.

Here’s Google maps – Street

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And Earth.

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Notice that there isn’t a single house between the “ends” of 9th. There are garages. The road could be continued.  Here’s a closer view –

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Notice that there is space behind the houses.  There are fences, but there is space between the fences, going vertically. The yards don’t butt up next to each other.  This creates an alleyway of sorts. This is true on all three vertical neighborhood blocks that you can see in the Earth picture. You can notice it somewhat on the Street picture, but it isn’t as pronounced.

Here is the end of the alleyway from 10th.  Looking North.

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And here it is from 8th.  Looking South.

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And here is the other side of the gap from Cleves, looking East.

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I wonder if neighborhood children see this empty space and take advantage of it to cut through behind the houses without being seen.  I also wonder if I’d get in trouble exploring here.  Probably.  So I explore virtually.

Fall is coming

It is good to slow down and watch the seasons change right before your eyes.  Ideally, I’d take this picture every day at the same time, but my lunch schedule doesn’t permit it.  So noon and 2 it will be.

tree2pm101816  2 pm, Tuesday 10/18/16

tree12pm101916 Noon, Wednesday 10/19/16

2pm-thursday-10-20-16-after-a-rain 2 pm, Thursday 10/20/16, after a storm

And then I run into a dilemma – I’m off this next week.  But if I don’t take a photo of this every day, I’ll miss it. This isn’t as forgiving as the “Tuesday Buffet” series I did.

tree2pmfriday102116 2 pm, Friday 10/21/16

tree-2pm-sunday-102316  2pm, Sunday 10/23/16

2-pm-monday-102416   2 pm, Monday 10/24/16

It doesn’t seem like it is changing very fast.  So do I need to take a picture every day?  But – if I don’t try, I won’t be able to go back and fill in that gap.  However – art must serve the artist, not the other way around.  If this isn’t fun to me, but work, then it defeats the purpose.

2pm-wednesday-102616 2 pm, Wednesday 10/26/16

12-pm-saturday-102916 12pm Saturday 10/29/16

i-12-pm-monday-103116  12 pm Monday 10/31/16

j-2pm-tuesday-110116   2pm Tuesday 11/1/16

k-12pm-wednesday-110216 12pm Wednesday 11/02/16

l-12pm-saturday-110516 12pm Saturday 11/05/16

m-12pm-monday-110716 12 pm Monday 11/07/16

m2-12pm-wednesday-110916 12pm Wednesday 11/09/16

m3-2-pm-thursday-111016 2pm Thursday 11/10/16

Off four days, did not come up here to take pictures.

m4-2pm-tuesday-111516 2 pm Tuesday 11/15/16

m5-12-wednesday-111616 12pm Wednesday 11/16/16

m6-2pm-thursday-111716 2pm Thursday 11/17/16

m7-12-saturday-111916 12 pm Saturday 11/19/16

m8-2pm-tuesday-112216 2 pm Tuesday 11/22/16

m9-12pm-wednesday-112316 12 pm Wednesday 11/23/16

A rainy and windy day.  I drove here rather than walk so I didn’t get stuck outside in a storm.

And then it was Thanksgiving break, so I missed 4 days.  I almost skipped Monday as well because I was off to tutor for the second time this school year.  But a lot has happened, so I had to.

n1-12-monday-112816 12 Monday 11/28/16

We had a big storm with 50MPH winds on Monday night. Leaves are everywhere and finally there is the smell of late autumn – wet leaves decaying.

n2-2pm-tuesday-112916 2pm Tuesday 11/29/16

n3-12pm-wednesday-113016 12pm Wednesday 11/30/16

n3-2pm-thursday-120116 2pm Thursday 12/01/16

n5-12pm-saturday-120316 12pm Saturday 12/03/16

n6-12pm-monday-120516 12pm Monday 12/05/16

Since you can barely see any more leaves on it, I’ve decided to post this. Perhaps I’ll do a Winter, Spring, and Summer series too.

Friday adventure

I have Fridays off. Don’t get too jealous – I have to work every Saturday.

After years of being off on Fridays, I’ve finally learned how to do extra during the week so that my Friday is actually a day when I can do what I want to do, rather than a day to do chores.  A day off isn’t a day off if it involves getting gas, picking up the mail, getting groceries, going to the pharmacy, paying bills…

So now I go on adventures.  Usually the day starts with waking up whenever I wake up.  This often means around 10.  I have to be up around 7 every day, and that is not normal for me.  I make up for it by sleeping in when I can.  But I don’t want to sleep in too much – then I’ve slept away my life.

My theme for the day was to only go to places I had a coupon or a gift certificate.  I wanted to spend as little money as possible.  I’ve had some of these saved up for over a year -and some I just got the day before.

This was outside of my car when I got out to go to lunch. I took it as a sign that this was going to be a fruitful adventure.

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While eating lunch, I read some of the material from The Wander Society and learned a new word – Zouave. I looked it up and here’s a picture of one.  He’s charming!  And it is in sepia.  I’m not sure what it is about sepia that I love so much these days.

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Here’s the definition from the Dictionary website –   “(formerly) a member of a body of French infantry composed of Algerian recruits noted for their dash, hardiness, and colourful uniforms. 2. a member of any body of soldiers wearing a similar uniform or otherwise modelled on the French Zouaves, esp a volunteer in such a unit of the Union Army in the American Civil War.”

I like writing down new words (well, new to me) in my journal and then writing the definition beside it.  It is like collecting ephemera.  I may or may not use the words later in my writing, much like with how I use ephemera in my collages.  I don’t think I’ll have a call to use this word, but that picture may spark a story.

I had a $12 lunch at Panera and paid only $2.  I used a gift card that I’d gotten for Christmas from a lady in my book club.  The meal was tasty and healthy, although not very filling.

I went to Target in the next town over and perused the dollar bins near the front of the store. It actually took over an hour to find something I wanted and needed that was close to my budget for this trip.  The ticket was $9 and I spent $4 because of the free gift card my husband gave me.   I got some Halloween yarn to use in making a quipu, some gauze that was for Halloween decorating that I’m putting in a collage-painting (See the post “October art), and some pumpkin pie energy bars from Larabar.  I was a little hungry at that point but didn’t want to be forced to eat fast food (translation, processed and greasy and mostly meat, as well as taking a while to get to and to get).  Plus, the Larabars were on sale, and there was one more in the package than the Kind bars that cost more.

I spent the most at Yankee Candle, but saved the most too.  The total was $61 and I paid $45.  I got Napa Valley Sunshine (an old favorite that they are discontinuing.  It smells like the convent I like to visit on silent retreat) and Maple Pancake  – for my husband.  I also got a car scent of Autumn in the Park.  I had a $20 off coupon that came with the catalog I just got, and a $5 voucher for buying so much stuff in the past.  I like to supplement the atmosphere of my house with smells.  It helps my mood and helps me concentrate. My first book was finished using candle-scents to focus me.  They had a deal where I could have gotten a $25 jar for $12 but I didn’t want to spend over fifty dollars here.  I was a little bummed that the clerk took the $5 off after the tax was added.

The best deal was the last – it was a trip to Duncan Donuts (why not spell it Doughnut?)  where I got a salty-caramel hot chocolate for free.  A friend had given me a $5 gift card for them (paired with Baskin Robbins) for Easter – last year.  I’d used part of it and kept it.  I saved it and drank it cold at work the next morning.

I kept all the gift cards I used and will make them in to scrapers/markers for painting.

I keep a running total of gift cards that I have not yet used in my phone so I won’t forget to use them.  They are like cash.  I used to do the same with Groupon-type things too but I stopped buying them.  The expiration dates came us too soon and there were too many exclusions and limitations.  Too stressful.

All told, I got $84 worth of stuff for $51 = so I saved $33.

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The weird/interesting/sad part is that I had to leave the house at all.  I really like having time to myself, and right now my husband is unemployed.  So he’s home all the time.  I need a day to reset, to do what I want without anybody watching what I’m doing and asking me questions.  I self-censor enough as it is, so I don’t need help with that.

Tiny picnic park

There’s this unusually landscaped area in an open-air mall in Mt. Juliet, TN.   This is near the movie theater and Fulin’s restaurant.   What is unusual is that it looks like a tiny park.

The sidewalk goes from the fenced-in courtyard of a now-defunct restaurant.

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This place is begging for a picnic…

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Notice the stepping stones.  They were added in after this area was built.  People kept walking across the grass to get to the other side.  People walk along the path of least resistance.  These paths are known as “desire lines” or “desire paths”.  (Definition from Wikipedia – A path that pedestrians take informally, rather than taking a sidewalk or set route ; e.g. a well-worn ribbon of dirt that one sees cutting across a patch of grass, or paths in the snow.)

adven4              adven5

Some colleges and apartment complexes are now realizing the futility of putting in sidewalks first.  They wait to see how people use the area, and then pave the desire lines, rather than paving un-used areas first.

A small park bench would look nice here – one like this

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or maybe this –

Lackford Lakes June 2010

but never this –

bench

There will be a picnic here one day, and I’ll add that here.

A space between

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This is normally off limits, but was open because some guys were working on the air conditioning unit of the church near where I work. The unit is behind the wall, and there is a chain-link gate that seals up this small passageway. It is very narrow, so the worker has to be slim. I wonder if anyone thought that the entire unit might need to be replaced some day? They’d have to either take down (and then rebuild) the brick wall or use a crane.

I appreciated getting a chance to see this view without the fence in the way.  I considered going on a wander to see the area inside, but figured I couldn’t justify it.

A wander.

I went on a wander recently, inspired by the book “The Wander Society” by Keri Smith. She is the author of interactive books that inspire creative thinking – such as “Wreck This Book” and “The Pocket Scavenger”.  They aren’t books so much as ideas and suggestions to make you see the world differently.  Normally you do something to the pages with her books – glue something in, paint something, staple, sew, chew, freeze…   But this book is different.  You are the one who gets altered.  You are encouraged to go on aimless wanders, inspired by Walt Whitman, and really experience the world, directly, without using your phone at all.  Actually see, smell, hear, taste, feel what is around you – interact with the real world, as it is, and as you are.

She says that if you send a picture of a small cairn (a pile of stones) that you made to info@thewandersociety.com, you’ll get a Wander Society membership card.

I could have cheated and made one in my back yard, but I’d know.

I went to my dentist’s office recently and got there a little early. I happened to park in an area that I don’t normally.  There is a Midas Muffler shop next to the office, and from where I was parked I could see they had a tiny back yard.

Here is a view of it from Google Maps – the yard is in the bottom right. His office is at the top.

cairn3

I wandered out of the parking lot for the dentist and into their yard. I didn’t look to see if anybody was watching me.  Most people are so involved in their own concerns (and their phones) that they don’t notice someone stepping off the pavement and into some other area.  Also, if you act like you are doing something wrong, people will think you are doing something wrong.  So don’t act like it.

I wandered partly into the yard to look at it. It was a small area – big enough for a picnic, but not for a game of soccer. I didn’t go all the way in.  I saw some stones (probably chips from the concrete) near the patio area.  I went closer to look at them and realized that the door to the shop was open.  There was a possibility that they could see me.  I had to be careful. I stacked the chips to make my cairn.

I stood out of view of the door when I took this picture.  I wanted to minimize my chance of getting caught.  It wasn’t like they had “no trespassing” signs up – and I wasn’t damaging anything.  I stacked some stones.  Hardly vandalism.  But I still didn’t feel like explaining what I was doing.

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I used the camera’s magnification to take this closer shot.  This is what I sent to them  but I’ve not heard back from them.  (Or her, because is this really a thing – or is it just her idea and she wants to be a thing?)

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Do you need a membership card to be a wanderer?

When part of the questionnaire for the society says that “Would you be willing to give up technology on a temporary basis from time to time?” and has questions asking if you agree or disagree with these statements – “Modern society has created a situation where life is experienced second hand, through screens instead of through direct experience.”  and  “It is time for us to take control of our mental environment.”  – then maybe I’ve failed as a wanderer by trying to get confirmation of my membership using the very technology they are trying to get us to move away from.

The website is www.thewandersociety.com 

Don’t do like I did and just look at the lightning-bolt symbol and think that’s it.  Scroll down and click on the other symbols.  Print out the various things – one of which is the membership card.

  

A hidden place

This courtyard was off limits the last time I went to St. Meinrad’s. The monastery itself was being renovated – they are upgrading to geothermal energy.  It is quite expensive, but will pay for itself in just a few years.  The necessary plumbing changes that go with it meant that all the monks had to be relocated to rooms that were usually used for guests or seminary students.  This meant that a courtyard that had been open in the past was closed off for their private use.  I was especially sad about this because I’d looked at maps before coming here and especially wanted to prowl around in this one.  Just two days before we came here on retreat, the monks were allowed back “home”.

Here is the covered walkway to it.

yard-entrance

I was a little overwhelmed – take it all in, or start taking pictures?  It is hard to “be in the moment” with a camera in front of your eyes.  But I also wanted to share this space with you, and to be able to process this experience later.

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I wonder what kind of tree this is?  I wonder who planted it, who chose it.  When was it planted?  Has this one always been here, or is it a replacement?  Does it have special meaning?  Was it dedicated to someone?

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Notice the solid architecture.  This place is designed to last.  Nothing temporary about it.

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But, as always, I think – is that what Jesus wanted – for the Church to build for itself?  Aren’t we called to take care of others?  How many poor people could have benefited from this?  If all the poor are fed, clothed, housed – then the Church can build such things for itself.

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There must have been a campaign to donate the paving tiles.  I wonder if these people knew how shallow the inscriptions are?  They won’t last more than a few years.  Just like gravestones, they’ll fade away.

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It seems like it would have been better for the Church to get these people to donate towards a place to help the needy instead – a halfway house, a drug treatment center, a shelter for battered women…

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This is the most symbolic part – but I’m sure nobody else sees it.  A dead tree.  Why is it still here?  Why keep it?  Sentimentality?  Much of the rites and rituals of the Church are like this tree – kept out of habit.  They no longer are connected to the Vine, the Living God.  Yet they are kept, enshrined, memorialized.  Idolized.

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