Sometimes the New Places we find ourselves in aren’t at all the places we intended to be. And that’s not because the New Place is an unworthy place or a second choice; rather that our poor imaginations couldn’t even have known to desire such a Place hitherto unknown to us.
So it was with today’s New Place which came to me by virtue of being lost and missing the turnoff for my original intended New Place. As this year is teaching me, however, getting lost and missing turnoffs is not a disaster but an opportunity.
So I found myself at the corner of 10th Street and Perry Street NE, pulled over, parked and had a most wonderful twilight walk up 10th Street NE to Shepherd Street NE, taking in the new neighborhood, the mini strip mall with pizza, wings and veterinary services, the large open spaces and buildings of Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (which I had heard about before, but never knew exactly where it was), the quiet neighborhood of brick houses, the community gardens.
With a full moon already risen over the Brookland Middle school, the clouds swirled in giant pinkish pompadours over the buildings, and growing splotches of red and orange leaves in the treetops, I was led to reflect on the connection between time and place.
How much of the charm of this New Place was the hour in which I visited? The season in which I walked through it? In an hour, in a month, in another year this would be another New Place altogether.
But for tonight it was this, and new and beautiful. And I keep my New Place project alive for yet another day. 295 days down. 70 to go.