Friday, October 15, 2010

Library Walks

A few days ago, Jennifer and I brought Tyler into the City Centre, as it's labeled all around Fulford Road with great arrows on blue traffic signs pointing the way to the pedestrian path along the River Ouse.

It's about a 40-minute walk to the city centre library from our home on Lesley Avenue, and we've learned that if we have enough "digestive biscuits" (seemingly the equivalent of a graham cracker in the States), then Tyler will be able to sit for just about the whole walk.

Jen and I talked about dreams, hopes, fears, and joys here in York, while Tyler punctuated our conversation every now and then with "More cookie! More cookie!"

We saw people of every nationality and social class walking. Old white men with white hair and beards walk; young Asian students walk; middle-aged moms with their kids in tow walk; business men in fancy suits discussing fancy things on their way to fancy lunches walk; Palestinian women walk; Nigerian boys walk--everybody seems to be on the sidewalks, walking to or from the city centre, all the time.

The library walks Jen and I have taken with Tyler are beginning to feel less long, more natural. En route, we're starting to notice things about ourselves and the new world we're living in that having a car might have easily prevented. Instead of honking at the driver ahead for making a left turn without using his blinker, we notice that we're saying hello to people we see on the sidewalks of our life here.

So the library walks into the city have been great.

The library walks home have been in somewhat of a different hemisphere.

They consist of Tyler saying, "All done walk! All done walk!" and then pushing his torso up and out of the stroller in such a fashion that we wonder if we have strapped him in at all. Breakdancing his way up and down, up and down in the stroller, we rush across crosswalks, past afternoon saunterers, and around bicyclists.

Get home! Get home!

We employ all kinds of tactics: Bob the Builder when we get home! Bob! Trucks when we get home! Trucks!

Meanwhile, we watch as the English toddlers and their English moms comfortably and calmly stroll along the sidewalks. Their toddlers don't seem to know this same breakdance that Tyler has learned. And yet, they've had a couple of years' head start of learning to walk long walks to get places rather than zip there in a fast car with music and air temperatures and everything else controlled.

We've been into the city centre a handful of times now, and each time the library walk home becomes a little less like a visit to the dentist's office, a little more like routine.

Maybe a handful of times more, and the walk home will be just as soothing as the walk in.