Woodlawn Avenue


Berries & bricks III (Credit: Celia Her City)

We all have our struggles.  I struggle with uncertainty.  I struggle with it because I don’t think I have to be this way, yet I’ve been this way my whole life, I believe.

There are legitimate grounds for being uncertain, but too much uncertainty cramps a personality.  Under certain circumstances, uncertainty can impede the sufferer from acting in a way that is appropriate and brave.  Because modern life involves many choices, uncertainty is a handicap when it comes to navigating the everyday.

Berries & bricks II (Credit: Celia Her City)

Sometimes, uncertainty arises from taking something trivial to be important.  How many really consequential decisions do we make in our lives?  A friend of my father’s once told me, “The only really important decisions you make are who to marry, how to earn a living, and what to do with your money.”  Do you think it’s true?

Berries and bricks I (Credit: Celia Her City)

Uncertainty may come from thinking too much.  In this way, great practical or philosophical weight may come to be attached to what is only immediate and discrete.  Social and aesthetic preoccupations may get in the way of what is intuitive and truest to oneself.

It’s enough to make one envy the misshapen tree, gloriously growing every which way, laden with the most beautiful berries, its irregular shape fairly reeking with charm.

Proud house

Proud house, Hyde Park (Credit: Celia Her City)

Hyde Park:  The area around the University has a lot of assertive architecture.  The massive houses along Woodlawn recall the days when Hyde Park was a young, remote, tony suburb, with a newfangled commuter rail connecting it to the Gilded Age city.

Proud house detail (Credit: Celia Her City)

When I see a proud house like this, I’m grateful that ambitious Americans chose to build their homes in the borrowed styles of other periods and countries.  To whomever built this house so long ago: thank you!  We are still enjoying your handiwork now.

Bare ornamental

Bare ornamental

A weeping ornamental does its work in Hyde Park.  The neighborhood is fretted with many such scenes: trees, once covered with the delicate blooms of spring, now dried up and naked; ivy-veined walls, stripped of their bright cloaks of leaves.  Evergreens, newly powerful, smugly come into their own.  Death mats the garden beds.  Stillness grips all.