In the yellow golden light of morning, The Nipper and I walked, sometimes hand-in-hand, sometimes side by each, through the well-limbed vaulted cathedral that was my neighbourhood when I was a child. The streets were empty and the windows of the stately old homes stared unblinking as we crossed before them. One side street – little more than an alley – was full of apple blossoms. Bushy pink blooms had fallen from overhanging lazy branches.
We walked gently through the pink sea, and I smiled at the delicate aroma our steps had freed. I asked The Nipper to stop so I could photograph him in the magic morning, but discovered I could not find my camera. Once more around the block and the camera was there but the street had gone.
There were other side streets, many of which were tumbled and touched by the soft pink flowers, but none was magic and none was the street we had found together by wandering. The Nipper was getting peevish, and I took a picture of him and then one of the two of us, and he was smiling not at all. We walked to a hulking brick building at the end of a petal-lined street and a woman I know came out of that place and told me it was a federal building.
So The Nipper and I walked along the harbour where lumber men rode timber logs down the river, and where the smell of freshwater fish never quite dissipated, even in winter. Of course this was the harbour that is not – my tiny landlocked home city hasn’t had ‘harbour’ trade for a century.
Somehow, The Nipper and I were separated in the locker room of the local military base, and although I was not at all uncomfortable to be walking nude through the men’s locker room, I was, perhaps, the only one so comfortable. I did not find The Nipper, but wasn’t concerned, as he had been to this place many times and could find his way home easily. It was more concerning that I could not find a towel.