Friday, December 01, 2006

i like to think of myself as walking lightly on the earth, but lately it's been raining, and very cold, and lots of stuff to do, so i've been taking the big lug of a truck down to work, through the west side of carbondale. people sometimes ridicule this neighborhood as being 'suburbia' (though carbondale in truth cannot be big enough to have one) or you sometimes hear 'faculty ghetto', but i prefer 'ornament valley', being totally into a cars-the-movie phase with my five-year-old. thought of the name earlier in the fall, looking down from my living room window at ornamental maples and other ornament-type trees changing color slowly and beautifully.

but now, rain and cold and december descending on the area, and a major corner, about halfway, is the site of houses competing to do the best lawn ornaments. dazzling light shows pointed at each other- it's been getting bigger every year, and this year huge balloonish frosties are all the rage, i guess. this is all pretty garish. of course, if it's morning, and i'm on my bicycle, i hardly see it. but these days i don't get out of work until dark and it's right there in my face.

a few houses down the bike-route back-street, though, i found an actual totem pole, up against the side of a house, not garishly put there either, just standing there. a person could go by many times without seeing it, but, on a bicycle, you're more likely to catch these things.

welcome to the ornament valley!


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