Posts Tagged ‘1920s’

After a harrowing walk among the fair weather hordes Friday near midday, I stayed in Saturday, and left the apartment by 6 am on Sunday, the time rabbits still nibble on grasses with little wariness and squirrels just begin to scamper.

A warm day already, so it was clear people would be abroad in force, but from 6 to 7, sheer heaven for the solitary walker. Very few people to pass, and very few cars to interfere with walking in the middle of the road anyway. I walked the back and side streets, then up one of the usually busier but now deserted shop streets all with the same bliss.


Morning light.

The air was warming and the birds were quietly going about their business, apart from a couple of Ring-billed Gulls that stood on the edge of usually crowded street lustily disputing a roll of bread. Chimney Swifts silently soared way above, but wait, those must be their chitters I hear, littering the air. A couple of Mourning Doves shot by, a Starling browsing an alley, House Sparrows up to their usual noise and springtime strutting, Pigeons aflutter, ubiquitous Robins seeking their breakfasts on the bits of grass and mud.

Unknown warblers sang above, requiring much patience and binoculars, the latter of which I certainly did not have. But the feeling of spring pervaded thanks to this and all the green and warmth and anticipation in the early morning air. Undercurrent to it, I kept thinking of Rebels & Redcoats, an old historical board game I used to play.


Maybe it was on warm spring like this, I used to go a suburb or two away, to Prosek’s greenhouse and game shop, once I was an older kid and could drive and the shops at the mall Kroch’s and Brentano’s and Hobbytown (or whatever it was called) dried up for board wargames. My mind’s turn to it made me wonder if it was a hint, that that time was the summit of my experience, quietly and excitedly browsing through all of the shrinkwrapped games with their historical enticements and images of maps and tiny square cardboard pieces representing the violent valor of ages past. Despite the mundaneness and evil of war, had there really ever been anything better than the imagination stirred by this intent browsing? I think of a René Magritte painting, Homesickness, when I think of the pride and futility of so much of what humans get up to, and how our better natures turn our backs on such things, but there was still that pull from Rebels & Redcoats and that shop in those early days of my life and that hobby.

I live now in a neighborhood with its own lovely garden center, complete with greenhouse for that luxurious smell of peat and loam or whatever it is, and an appended shop, in this case more a fancy gift shop than wargame and miniatures shop with a war vet guy sitting at the counter wearing a plaid shirt and breathing through tubes attached to an oxygen machine. I remember him telling me he’d game in the evenings, miniature soldiers laid out on lush green tables full of terrain, re-enacting Borodino, Gettysburg, The Bulgethe three battles he said any wargamer worth their salt had simulated.

As I walked down my street home, I found myself singing the chorus of De Sylva, Brown, and Henderson’s “Thank Your Father,” a female Cardinal perused a space of sidewalk, and quite surprising, a pair of Blue Jays with their whistling noise dashed high overhead. I can’t remember seeing Blue Jays around here.


Corot sky and trees, with that lovely sfumato.

When I got to my side street, where my car resides, another toss of a peanut, and a Crow welcoming and taking. Later that day, peering into the garden next door now and then, and the next morning walking out again, Common Yellowthroat, Hermit Thrush, Chickadee singing loudly, House Wren tittering it up and finally being spied when it flew across the street to another shrub. So many, the various summits of our experience.



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