My home city of Phoenix, Arizona lies in the middle of a desert. One wouldn’t expect to find many mermaids that far from the ocean–the shortest route is over 300 miles to reach the Gulf of California–but I found one. So, Sunday, September 15, I walked off to see her instead of going out into the desert. The walk that follows is a minor tour of the neighborhood where I live on the northwest side of town.
When I walk in the desert I try to photograph any animals I see. The first thing I saw when I started this city walk was this pigeon. There are thousands of pigeons living wild in Phoenix, maybe tens of thousands of them. I sometimes think they should be the state bird. They are the commonest creature (other than man and dogs and cats) that you will see in Phoenix.
When I go walking in town, I usually take a book to read. I’ve been working on this epic fantasy by Chris Marks since I returned from GenCon a month ago. If you like fantasy in the Tolkien tradition, you would like ELFHUNTER by C. S. Marks. My copy is autographed by the author. 🙂
The first obstacle is getting downstairs. I have fallen once on these stairs in the last year and a half–missed a step. I don’t like stairs. But my legs are stronger than they used to be because I go up and down these half a dozen times a day at least.
I walk for my health, not because I love walking. My feet have inflamed nerve ganglions in them, and every step hurts. If I did what I wanted, I’d get in my beautiful new 2012 Kia Forte and go for a hundred mile drive on this beautiful Sunday morning instead of walking the streets of Phoenix.
Heading south on 17th Avenue . . . the street is divided by a green belt that runs from Maryland to Glendale, and in that green belt is a single line of palm trees. This is dog country. Everyone who owns a dog on this street brings them out to walk and poop in this stretch of grass.
I have turned west on Maryland. It’s 2 blocks over to 19th Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in western Phoenix.
On 19th Avenue I turn south for half a mile. As I walk I think that Phoenix is a kind of very open forest. Really, there are trees everywhere you look.
It’s a lion. What kind of a person wants a lion sitting outside his or her home?
Apparently, the answer is a psychic. Judging from the trailer ad, this is the home of a psychic.
Actually there are two lions at this house. The second one hides behind the trailer, but it didn’t bother me. I’ve gone this way before, and I’m kind of a cat person. The lions are my friends.
I thought you might like to see the Phoenix sky. Sunday was a cloudless day, except for the contrails made by jets flying across the state through the upper atmosphere.
I have reached Bethany Home Road. Here I turn west and walk past a huge hospital.
We live in a science fictional world. Here’s a robot reminding me that I can ride the bus if I want to get around town.
Although, I claim this walk is all about going to see the Mermaid, it’s really about going to this place to get some Sunday morning breakfast. I like to reward myself on these walks, and what better reward is there than stopping for something good to eat and drink in the middle of it all?
And here’s the Mermaid at last. Isn’t she a beauty? Just based on this picture, I really want to come and eat at this restaurant some time.
The dive is called Brad’s Fish & Chips. Either the mermaid is named Brad, or she works for Brad, probably the latter.
Here’s another picture of her. I want to be . . . under the sea . . . with a mermaid.
Here’s another old friend, Ronald McDonald. You don’t see the clown inside the restaurants much any more. Ronald and two kids are out blowing bubbles behind the fast food joint.
I take a different path on my walk ome, going north on 23rd Avenue. Phoenix is a forest, and forests need rivers. Our rivers flow underground, and are protected from the people by metal gates and grates. You can hear the water rushing by just below your feet, but you can’t get to it.
I cut through the south side of Washington Park on my way home. This is as close to Nature as I will come this day.
Home at last. My back and feet hurt, but I have done over 9000 steps this morning. That’s a good thing. I will re-enter the Troll Cave now and take it easy for the rest of the day.
And there you have it, friends, a very ordinary walk in a very ordinary city by an ordinary guy–a slice of life to be part of a record that will never matter to anyone.
If you ever go looking for mermaids, why not leave a comment and tell me how and where YOU find them?