written Wednesday 2 April 2003
|Last Walk to the Park|
This morning I walked from my home to "the park" in downtown Winter Park, less than a mile. The park is, of course, the Center Of The Universe. In any case: I want to show you what I'm leaving.
Click below to see the pictures and story. It amounts to close to 900 KB, which is only 20 seconds' download by DSL, but about 3 minutes by dial-up (phone modem) connection. I think they are well worth it. This will be the only time I post this.
This is 470 Clarendon where I lived 8 happy years. To come to think of it, the years weren't really all that happy--but that's not 470's fault. In fact, it was my one constant comfort during some of the grimmest moments of my life. However I feel about it, it has shaped my whole idea of Home, and I'm sure I will measure all my future homes against it. Just look at it. I will miss it.
Click here for a panoramic image (too wide for this page).
Next door is Ann's house, built about 1900, the original grove plantation house.
Two doors down is the retention pond for the area. Florida requires that each area capture its own storm water, and return it to the underground water right there. Most places leave open ditches. This is the haven on our street.
Now we turn right to leave Clarendon, which is only a few houses in length, onto Oxford, which is even shorter. (By the way, the numbers on this sign are wrong, actually impossible.)
The first house on Oxford, an absolutely typical Florida bungalow.
During most of the year, some plant or the other is offering little surprises like this one. I nearly stepped on this one while photographing the bungalow above.
At Oxford's end (we have not progressed even 500 feet yet), we turn left onto Lakeview. Note evidence of the neighborhood's eternal, roving, nearly continuous partying.
It is by following Lakeview for a bit that we get to old Winter Park proper. The left is lined with idiosyncratic houses (below), and Lake Virginia extends to the right. Click here for a panorama of Lake Virginia (too wide for this page).
I'll shut up for a moment. Just savor the houses.
Glancing to the right: someone else who didn't have to work today.
And glancing upward, I see that Cape Canaveral (40 miles to the east) launched another large rocket, a few minutes ago. They don't announce them; you must catch them by happenstance, as I caught this one.
Ibis minding their own business. Unusual for them to forage this close to people.
Last azaleas of the season. Most azalea blossoms dropped a month ago, but these are heavily shaded, on the cool lakefront.
These poinsettias survived the winter outdoors.
The next house on Lakeview. We continue northward to the park.
Just before leaving the lake, a local character.
Having climbed up from the lake and passed a corner of Rollins College, I have to resist Panera's and its pinnacle of Western Civilization: the German chocolate Danish... Not much chance.
...of course, it might taste better without diesel fumes from Fairbanks Avenue literally at one's elbow.
Panullo's, my favorite casual restaurant on the planet. Richard (Panullo), purveyor of the finest pizza I know, apparently took this gloriously gorgeous day off, so no picture of him.
In the park. I think its formal name is Central Park, but no one calls it anything but: the park. On the park's west runs the Amtrak line, on its east runs Park Avenue, and across that the shops. This park scene is absolutely typical: the greenery year-round, the empty benches, the New York train loading in the background, and overly protective yuppie parents (note the child's crash helmet). On weekends the park can get overrun with I-4 people, but today they all have to slave at jobs (I was laid off a week ago--hooray!), so the park was uncrowded, quiet, better.
One of the park's man-eating squirrels. Not really. But they do in fact beg, er, assertively. One has tapped me on the shoulder as I ate a cookie. If you shoo them away from your food, they stand boldly like this fellow is demonstrating, as if to demand..."WHAT?"
The trains stop just long enough to have a short conversation. The weather almost always permits it, the residents of this small-town-in-the-city are curious and friendly enough to want to approach, and of course the train's passengers almost always want to see this refreshingly beautiful stop on their long journey.
I cannot believe that I am leaving this place.
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