Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Utica Street in downtown Ithaca is one of my favorite places to walk. It's not terribly long (though it is longer than its near neighbor, Short Street) and it smells good — the scent of flowers mingling with cooking smells. It's a quiet street, except for the sound of house construction and re-construction, which takes place in every season.

Yesterday I decided to put more focus into my walk so I counted the number of wind-chimes I saw on the porches. 


That includes 4 bells that wouldn't chime on their own but would make a lovely sound if they were helped along by something stronger than a breeze.

For about half a block I was stuck at the number 13 and had to keep repeating "13, 13, 13, 13" inside my head so I wouldn't lose my place.

Then I came to a house with 3 wind-chimes and after that I was on a roll. 

Sometimes it was hard to distinguish a wind-chime from a mobile, or a cleverly-disguised bird feeder. I was squinting up at a porch when a woman across the street said "Doesn't that remind you of the house on Irving Place?" But it turned out she wasn't talking to me, she was talking to the man a few paces behind her. And she wasn't even referring to the house I was looking at.

But of course this made me wonder about Irving Place. Which I don't know at all. I do know a few men named Irving, though, so I thought about them for a while. 

I could have counted white butterflies instead of wind-chimes. Or anything else: broken bicycles, hanging fuchsia plants, abandoned ladders, fire-hydrants covered over with weeds and wildflowers.  

But yesterday it was all about the wind-chimes. Not one of them made a sound. 

lazy afternoon
even the wind-chimes
are napping