Things I’ll Miss – 1

…so my husband and I have moved to just outside Charlottesville, Virginia. Better job for him, new state of unemployment for me, fresh start for both of us. So far we’re loving it – we were kind of worried – Cville is a lot smaller, slower. But the pace seems to suit us both, and our dog, a life-long city dog, is now countrified. She wants to spend most of her time under the porch! Yes, my dog, like her mother, has become a redneck.

Anyway, Pittsburgh was our home for going on 8 years, and there are things about it that I’ll miss. I’ll add to this list as I think of them…

Highland Park – I’ll miss our neighborhood a lot. Miss seeing the change of seasons on walks to Tazza D’Oro – I always loved looking at everyone’s garden, all the colors and the care. I’ll miss Tazza D’Oro’s scones. So yummy. I’ll miss saying hello to the dogs walking about – Ruby and Mojo the most. I’ll miss seeing hummingbirds on my front porch as I lay in a hammock on a hot summer afternoon. My gasp of wonder and surprise the first time I saw this tiny creature sniffing about my red geraniums.

Highland Park Reservoir was where I finally got over so many things – agoraphobia, my self-consciousness about my weight. I started walking around – slowly at first, working up to five times around at a brisk pace. With every lap the pounds came off – I felt lighter, physically, but also mentally. The cool breezes and the trees, and seeing the baby ducks swimming – all the nature that was about – just lifted me up and calmed me down. I realized I had nothing to fear from anyone. Once I saw a turtle sunning himself just on the edge of the water, just enjoying the day. When the geese arrived I knew it was springtime (they were on their way north) and when they arrived again some months later, I knew it would soon be cold and dark – winter’s approaching.

I’ll miss the sweet old lady who fed the park’s feral cats – she’d creep up with her baggy of Tender Vittles every day about 2pm. As much as I wanted to see these kitties in a proper home, I was torn, because they always looked so fat and happy.

I graduated from walking the reservoir to running the paths further down and around it. These paths were also where I learned to walk our dog, Lois. She was a rescue, so while I wanted to spoil her rotten, I also wanted to be a firm parent – the whole time afraid that I was doing everything wrong. These paths were where we both learned from each other, eventually coming to an understanding. She was equally afraid – of everything it seemed – the outdoors, other dogs, loud noises, you name it. But as the days progressed, her fear eased, and with it so did mine.

I can remember walking her at dawn – the fog on the trees was so thick it hung like a blanket. It hung like cobwebs – you could barely see anything just beyond your own footsteps. The air was damp, cold. We were the only ones crazy enough to be walking the reservoir that early. It was eerie. And so silent. We both walked slowly, very carefully, not wanting to disturb anything that might be lurking. And as we rounded the bend, a soft lion’s roar could be heard from the zoo down the street. It was a thing of wonder – and I remember I wasn’t afraid any longer. Dawn in Highland Park is what I’ll miss the most…

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