Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I live in East Dallas.

Everyday I walk down streets that take me back in time.

tree-lined lanes that look like this:

it's like something caught up out of a dream
a movie set from a place that only exists in memory

Libby and I stroll down these streets near dawn each day and it's a blessing. It's nostalgia and hot cocoa and apple pies cooling on the windowsill. It's a dream and a wish held together and these kinds of neighborhoods aren't being built anymore. It's more than the clapboard and columns, the sidewalks set in off the road. It's wholesome and it makes me feel safe. I imagine the tenants feel safe, too. safe, and proud.

I live in a two bedroom apartment in a building out on Gaston and it's nothing like these - but I get to share in all this neighborhood offers because it's mine too.

This past week there was a murder in my neighborhood.
And I guess I share in that, too.
I share in the grief and the shock and the feelings of violation.
Aghast that someone could take the life of a harmless eccentric old man.

I understand maybe a little more why some of the homes are barred, though I'll always wish it didn't have to be that way. The truth is that simply because it's east doesn't make it any less dallas. and while one block looks as whimsical as Victor between Munger and Colette, the next block's homes have suffered unholy surgery; chopped into four and five unit apartments, unkempt and showing their age. and always the homeless are among us.

but it's such a great metaphor for all of us, I think - and that's maybe why I love it here so much. Parts of all of us are like a dream of something wholesome and sweet and homemade. and parts of all of us have been violated, or have aged without care. I'm in this neighborhood. I'm in the streets and the hillsides, in both the rotting clapboard and whitewashed window boxes full of pansies. I can see that even the most abandoned of homes was at once hope for the best life imaginable, a place where home and family and a piece of the american dream was all anybody ever really wanted anyway. It's caught up in the bones of these homes - good strong homes that will continue to line East Dallas long after I am gone. They whisper to me... that the dream is still alive.