Urban Sidewalks

The last time I lived in a city, there was a bit more cobblestone. Not that I don't enjoy the aesthetic of Trenton Avenue's stone pavement. But it's an outlier in a world of metal, asphalt, and concrete. Hard materials, and durable ones. Made to survive the passage of a million feet. Made to bear up under the weight of so many lives and so many expectations.

What do we bring with us? And how do we shape these seemingly immovable surroundings? It seems arrogant to think that we could possible leave our imprint in a lasting way. I am not, after all, Edmund Bacon, whose life's work included the mid-century planning of Philadelphia. But cities are made of people too. 

To change the life of another person, however greatly, is still a shallow impression in light of its transience. It passes with the passing of the consciousness that holds it. And I wonder too--how hard must it be, to matter to someone enough to change them. We are not unlike the city's substance, when it comes to our psychological habits and emotional ways. We resist that which would alter us. We cling to the semblance of the unchanging as a life raft in a turbulent world, even if that which does not change is within us, is hurting us because it closes us to new experience.

It is snowing, and for the first time in four years, that is not a cause for concern. Something old; something new.

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