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Responsibility at play in a Fairview alley

May 1, 2015


Thursday morning a block of back alley between 14th and 15th Avenue was awash in glaring sunlight but it was actually a child on a bicycle who helped throw the scene into sharp contrast for me.

There were all the adults, purposefully doing everything in that future tense way that adults do things: places to go and things to do and so forth.

There was the motorist, impatiently waiting to exit onto Birch Street, behind an idling garbage truck (an organic waste truck, to be precise). The driver of that truck was on foot in the alley, methodically going through the motions of his job, collecting and emptying food scrap bins.

And I watched as a woman calmly threaded her way between the driver and his truck in order to get to her parked car, so that she could get in, start it up and join the queue waiting for the garbage truck to move.

And then a little girl rode into view on her bicycle. She was going places but doing it in such a roundabout, circuitous way that she clearly wasn’t in a rush to actually get anywhere.

She was happy wherever she was — happy to live in the moment. It was the alley that was moving under the wheels of her bike.

She wasn’t future tense at all but present perfect.

Part of the reason she could be that way came into view a moment later, in the form of an older woman I took to be her mother.

Every so often, as if at the end of an invisible connection, the little girl came to a stop and looked back over her shoulder and waited for the woman.

For her part the woman made no effort to catch up to the child on the bicycle. She walked at a measured pace, carrying a bike helmet and a U-lock with her left hand.

It’s so much easier to be that carefree child when you know for certain that a responsible, loving parent has your back. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Fairview, People

  1. Margaret permalink

    Beautiful photo and sentiment!

    • I’m privileged to have the kind of life that allows me to stop, look and contemplate what I see. When I realized what the last woman was carrying I laughed. It was like watching a short story unfold before my eyes.

  2. This post got to me on so many levels.. an arrow to the heart and mind.

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