Remarking on the weather these days isn’t just a mundane, small talk affair. It’s been a pretty interesting winter, because it has looked like, well, winter. Personally I’ve loved gazing out the window at so many snowfalls, though I know the deluge has been causing a lot of problems. And the snow is staying put, on the ground, slicking into ice, then covering itself with more snow. My memory of Philly winters is of occasional big snowfalls, followed in quick succession by rain and temps in the forties and fifties, then slush, then a quick melt and a chorus of rushing waterfall sounds at every curb. The snow doesn’t usually stick around.
I got these chain things that slip on over my snow boots, helping me navigate the icy sidewalks and un-plowed streets. Mr. Milkshake and I go trekking through our neighborhood’s peculiar wilderness.
I live in “Brewerytown”, a strange neighborhood with a fascinating landscape. Brewerytown is a section of North Philly, wedged up and to the left of Fairmount and the Art Museum area. Around the corner from my house is a vast landscape of vacant lots and buildings, that run right up against the railroad tracks, then Fairmount Park.
The vacant buildings and the remnants of old stone foundations are mesmerizing and eerily beautiful. There is a lot of intricate masonry and brick work. The largest vacant structure is the old Red Bell Brewing Company, whose facade is made entirely of red bricks. During the Spring and Summer, light from the setting sun will set this building ablaze, the bricks glowing deep and fiery.
This time of year is beautiful in a different way.
During the spring, summer and fall, I wander through these vast overgrown lots, foraging for queen anne lace, wild clematis, yarrow, bluebells, ilex berries, echinacea, thistle and various interesting weeds, pods and grasses. Right now they’re just my own private, quiet, snowy “wilderness”, perfectly fit for reverie.
One day, Handsome Boyfriend and I will find our farm. I long for that day, and I know it’s coming soon. So these city walks of mine feel strangely solemn, like they’re already tinged with nostalgia.
The picture below is a good representation of how this neighborhood is slowly changing. On the left, an abandoned building. In the middle, a building that has been turned into loft apartments. On the right, a new, suburban-looking town home complex that doesn’t seem to fit at all.