The street I live on is a short dead-end, so more than ten or so cars passing by in a day would constitute a traffic jam. I described in my earlier small town post the scene one encounters when traveling to the corner and preceding down Main St. Most often when walking my hound I go the opposite direction. The street terminates at an irrigation ditch. irrigations ditches are common in the south-west desert areas of the U.S. There is evidence of such watering systems being built by early native cultures to supply water to their cultivated crops because of our scanty rain fall. The ditch at the end of my streets draws water from the river that runs through our little town and carries it to areas that at one time were all small farms but is now partly more populated with homes.
There is a sturdy walk bridge across the ten foot wide ditch and a path that leads to an open field. I’m not good a estimating the size of a tract of land but this public space is quite large. The field is unobstructed to the north and ends at a high earthen dam along the rivers’ edge . The dam was built for flood control, oh yes, in spite of our arid climate there are times when nature dumps a years worth of rain in thirty-six hours, then our lazy little river becomes a raging beast that escapes its’ banks and wreaks havoc.
Hound loves this place. There are so many smells to track, so with nose to the ground she picks up our pace. I let her follow what ever scent appeals to her for I respect that she was born to this activity. So we pretend to be on the trail of some mighty creature before returning to the path. We stroll a short distance before reaching the fenced in community garden . It is available for all to use, with rules posted on the gates. Here are neat plots of turned earth, growing beds built up with railroad ties and round planters . We often encounter a few intrepid folk working in the veggie patches and stop to speak with them ( allowing for hound to bask in their admiration). Next our trek brings us to the dog park. Here we make another stop as hound watches the other canines with tentative interest. I don’t take her inside the fenced area because she is timid with other dogs and I really feel she prefers to observe from a distance.
Beyond the dog park is a complex of baseball fields, four in all , where all spring and summer the kids of the community play Little League . I can hear the crack of the balls against aluminum bats and the cheers of the crowds floating on the warm air from my porch during these seasons. Remembering it now makes me think of lemonade and marigolds.
We cross the parking lot and then a side street to the soccer field and the skate board park, where we pause to marvel at the talent and courage of the young kids on their boards when there are any enjoying this activity. Beyond this is a larger park with playground equipment, cabana covered picnic tables and sandy volleyball courts. Families use the park for childrens’ birthday parties. Young mothers bring pre-schoolers here for playdates. In nice weather church groups put on picnics to feed anyone in need. On week day mornings it is usually being put to limited use but never completely empty. The area as a whole has a peaceful, safe feel. A step back in time, Norman Rockwell type ambiance. One more reason I love small town living.