Not too long ago, Basil and I set out for upstate New York. We usually take a tiny car when we go, but this time traveled in the nearly ancient, but little-used, truck Mr. Diarist and I keep for special duty.
Basil just disappears into the back of the SUV. There’s plenty of room for him, my suitcase, a kit bag, a footstool and a bunch of other junk. (And for at least three more Brompton bicycles!)
Basil didn’t get much of a workout on this trip, as it turned out. There were thunderstorms all week — wonderful thunderstorms with marvelous loud bangs and fabulous light flashes all over the skies — and very little else, meteorologically speaking. I do draw the line at cycling in lightening storms.
When we slipped out, it was for one of the shortest rides I’ve ever taken on Basil — just over three miles. Storm-strewn debris was everywhere, though not as much as I had expected to see.
Unlike the theoretically sturdier trees, feathery flora seemed to have braved the storms without much difficulty — and, in the case of this example, with some flamboyance.
Usually when we are in this area, Basil and I ride the towpath next to the Erie Canal , but rain was threatening, so I decided to explore a neighborhood for the first time. I knew this ride would be a shorter one than our twopath excursions.
This was an area that we’d driven through the day before, and was near a large intersection with which I am familiar, so it got elected. All was serene at mid-day, the sky only slightly overcast.
Though they aren’t necessarily convenient (or, in some cases, even safe) I’m fond of the old-style narrow sidewalks of these neighborhoods, and the simple, wide streets. Asphalt has a hard life, though, and shows the wear-and-tear that northern winters wreak.
There was no cookie-cutter modern development here; homes look as if they sprang up, one by one, as land was sold. Which means, too, that trees weren’t removed, wholesale, to make identical lots, giving the landscape a much more natural, organic, feeling than developments have.
Lush summers make even the plainest home look luxuriant — though those steps are a nice touch. (Were the double peaks original, or the result of a room added later?)
There is a bit of an alpine theme going on in places; this may be a very practical homage to Rochester’s winters, which are fierce.
Snow presumably slides off these roofs far more effectively than it does conventional ones, though I wouldn’t like to be doing maintenance on those inclines.
I love this unexpected bright blue door on the façade of an otherwise retiring house.
In the silver lining department, the demise of this tree did not mean the death of the house next to it, as the tree thoughtfully fell toward the street.
Basil did his traditional tree pose, but not beside one of the magnificent older trees that abound here; they were all in someone’s yard, and we are loathe to go tramping over other people’s property to get the shot. Next to the sidewalk, yes, but actually in the yard? Nope.
The wind picked up, and the rain returned, but not before we met this dapper fellow, who reigns over a most interesting world. But more of that later . . .
(Rochester, New York)