I try to walk to the library everyday. The journey is about three miles round trip, which is just enough to qualify as both exercise and a chance to clear my head (which is usually pretty empty, anyhow). The walk follows a busy street, but there are sidewalks and some great architecture along the way--two gorgeous churches, the high school campus, the town hall, and a few blocks worth of old Victorian homes, some of which are well-preserved historical homes, whereas others have fallen into extreme disrepair, making it look as though every fifth house or so is haunted or infested with witches. I also pass a street where one of America's most famous traitors lived, a big cemetery, and a two statues, one honoring civil war dead and the other honoring the Italian community in town. A pretty interesting three miles, all in all.
Today I started the walk with my iPod playing my '50's-early '60's playlist, because music from that era is fuel for a project I'm working on. I stopped at a yard sale about a half-mile into my walk, and I found a book called Populuxe by Thomas Hines, which has a tagline that reads "The look and life of America in the '50's and '60's, from tailfins and TV dinners to Barbie dolls and fallout shelters." I read the book years ago and loved it, so was thrilled to get it (for a whole buck).
Now, I understand that it probably sounds terribly contrived to be taking a stroll, thinking about a project I'm writing concerning the 1950's, listening to 1950's music, and then finding a great reference book which has the exact sensibility about the 1950's (for a whole buck) that I'm incorporating in the project, but that's the way life is. I'm a great believer in synchronicity. The universe provides; one just needs to sharpen one's awareness of that fact.
But finding the book wasn't even the weird part of today's trek.
On the way home I was approaching a home that had a "apartment for rent" sign on the lawn. Many of the Victorians have been converted into multi-family homes. At this particular one where the sign was, the lawn was overgrown and the hedge was reaching out over the sidewalk. A flower garden along the foundation was sprouting onto the porch, and there were a few decorative trees and bushes in the yard that were sorely in need of trimming. The house is still gorgeous, well-shaded and set back from the street. All the house needs is a little yard work and horticultural attention.
I started thinking about a down on his luck character who offers to do the yard work in exchange for a reduced rent, and the owner of the home, a kind but stingy elderly lady who remembers when our town was in it's heyday, reluctantly agrees, but only if the man also agrees to do "some repairs" to the house itself. He agrees, and in re shingling the roof, he finds...
I know, I know. I was supposed to be thinking about the 1950's project. It's a long walk, and I'm not always the most focused of individuals.
Anyway, when I pulled even with the sidewalk-encroaching hedge, I looked down and saw there was a Ouija board laying on the grass. As if that was creepy enough, a leaf floated down from the big maple tree just inside the hedge and landed on the board.
One doesn't normally find Ouija boards taking a walk, I think. I've written before about my nebulous belief in signs and portents; I'm not quite sure what this would auger. The tip of the leaf was pointing at the "H", if that is any help.
I wonder if it will still be there tomorrow? And I wonder just what I will do if, as I approach, "Pledging My Love" by Johnny Ace playing through my headphones, another maple leaf drifts down, alighting on the board to point starkly at the "I"?