It sits beside one of those old industrial buildings that has been developed into small commercial units and shops, and back when I started visiting there were very few tenants. The cars that were parked there sat in the spaces immediately adjacent to the building itself, and the area of which I write was an outpost of the large parking lot and the view of it wasn't blighted by the presence of automobiles. There was always a place for me to put the scooter while I yapped on the phone or did something or another on the laptop by one of the picnic tables.
The once peaceful spot is an iron sculpture garden and I've often wondered about its history. With sufficient legwork I might be able to discover when it was built and by whom and for what purpose, but none of that is important to me. It served as an oasis for this scooter rider on days when going somewhere mattered more than where I was going, and when no other place came to mind to be a destination, it served as a pleasant escape from the boredom of sitting at home, and was as conducive to thought and introspection as is riding the bike itself.
The reader who approaches a blog with the eye of a high school English teacher, or worse yet, a college English professor, would have, by now, made note of the use of the past tense and on an even deeper cerebral level noticed with a self appreciating twinkle in his eye that my nostalgic mentions of the sixth grade foreshadowed a disappointment yet to be written about directly. The reader who's more like me, however, will be skipping most of this text and looking at the pictures in hopes of finding a pretty lady perched incidentally beside some prop. To the latter I apologize humbly. I have yet to roar up to some local landmark and reach for my camera even as I'm slamming down the kickstand in manly fashion and be swarmed by a bevy of beautiful models eager for scooter blog exposure. To the former I make no apologies for the utter lack of plot, dearth of dynamic characters, and for the usual expression of emotion outside of poetry.
The disappointment of which I write should be obvious by now even to somebody who rarely has his nose out of a comic book. What's changed about my serene scene is that the shops have filled up and cars now surround my spot just about all the time. Somehow it impacts me nearly as much as when I figured out the truth about Santa Claus and a whole, big chunk of magic was ripped forcefully out of my little heart.
Maybe one of the rottenest things about getting out of the sixth grade and all the other grades is learning and perhaps embracing reluctantly the paradox whereby some of the best parts about being alive come without a price tag, and that the harder we work with "happiness" as the goal, the further from achieving it we slide. Sometimes the best moments just happen without having to do anything except to be there and to be perceptive to their value. The times that I spent in this place, before the cars took over, were some of those moments to me. As with the times I spend on the scooter, the collective hours I spent simply in sitting there delighted me with an appreciation for those times when life just tosses you a gift that you weren't expecting.
I suppose I could still go there, park the scooter, set up the laptop or netbook on the picnic table, yammer on the phone, or just enjoy in luxuriously lazy fashion the clouds and the cars going by. But I know that it wouldn't be the same just as Christmas hasn't been since that gut wrenching Eureka! discovery about Santa.
With cars eventually come other people, and while I'm not a misanthrope nor purely an introvert, when I scooter to a place like this former respite from life's daily worries and concerns and rat raced pace, I do so because I'm craving solitude. A single person walking to his car who might call out a friendly, "Hi!" would ruin that for me and shatter a moment that was supposed to be a private and special one.
In creating the sidebar for this blog I wrote a number of years ago, "Scootering has become to me as much a unique way of seeing the world and of thinking about things as it is a means of getting from one point to another or simply enjoying the ride." Scootering to this place that I wrote about here today had become for me part of that "way of seeing the world and thinking about things." I know when I sat there and gazed at the sculptures I enjoyed an illusion of being in a kind of magical part of the world. I was, somehow, on holy ground where I was given a gift of being able to appreciate something simple and pure that cost me nothing but gave me so much. Odd that when I spent my time there in years past the cars and trucks whizzing by at 55 mph only a stone's throw away didn't shatter the special nature of the place at all, but a single Ford Focus in a lined space can ruin it all.