January 13, 2009


The patio outside the Gizmo was built thirty or so years ago, a low wooden deck built immediately atop an older concrete patio that doubled as an outdoor ice rink. It's a bit of an unusual construction; unlike a typical wooden deck, it is so low over its substrate (the joists are laid on the concrete) that it reverberates, echoing a bit differently depending on just where you step. Like a typical wooden deck, it ages, and though individual boards are occasionally replaced, the overall structure has settled and popped and now creaks just enough to be charming.

In the last few days, we've had a bit of snow, just enough to provide a picturesque groundcover without requiring outrageous amounts of snow clearing. And now it's super cold, currently 2F according to the bug in my menubar, so that even trodden snow doesn't do its usual melt-freeze thing, but rather just compacts and crunches with every step, as if thousands of pounds of cornstarch had been spread evenly across the ground to a depth of two inches..

So back to the Gizmo patio. The line diagonally across it, from the Gizmo door off in the direction of GDH, is a path that is low-traffic enough that nobody shovels or plows it, but high-traffic enough that it is reliably trod into a level walking surface. The cold weather has left all the crunch in the snow; and the percussive thunk of my walking step mixes with the fricative creak of the shifting boards, all three sounds reverberating in the echo chamber below. Walking across the Gizmo patio has become, for a brief little while at least, a rare and peculiarly musical experience.

"If we read the Koran as a totality rather than pulling out random verses or half a line, that opens all kinds of possibilities for sexual equality." --Asma Barlas

Posted by blahedo at 5:40pm on 13 Jan 2009
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