Monday, May 4, 2009

Re-visiting Birmingham

Roses from the garden of my hostess

What a fine time I've had in Birmingham on my second visit. I arrived by train from Philadelphia around noon on Saturday. On my trip north I'd walked from the Unitarian Universalist Church parking lot, where I left the gypsy wagon, down the hill to West Valley Avenue and caught the city bus to downtown. When I returned I discovered that the Saturday bus made a shorter loop and didn't run on W. Valley Ave. I had to walk the last leg of the trip, rolling my suitcase behind me, on a four lane street with no sidewalk or shoulder. Ah, the indignities pedestrians must suffer!

I was going to recommend that people use the bus to go to church, at least now and then, but I also learned that the bus doesn't even run on Sunday. So much for that. Maybe as the fossil fuel situation becomes more urgent cities will be pressured into offering more public transportation. If I lived in Birmingham I think I'd advocate for that now.

I received wonderful hospitality from the UU's, both at church on Sunday, and in the homes of two dynamite women. I stayed Saturday night with an artist who in her retirement years has taken up weaving, metal work, stained glass mosaic, and other mediums whereby to express her astounding artistic talent. Her house is like a museum albeit a cozy and warm place where you feel right at home. Her patio juts out into a forest that fills the hill below. We sat there for supper and the birds sang and showed off to us the whole time. Sunday night I stayed at the home of an avid political enthusiast, a retired history professor, who can rattle off the names of senators from each state and where they stand on the political spectrum. She reads The Nation, The New Yorker and a political journal, and has a quick an agile grasp of contemporary issues. I know that I would learn a whole degree-worth of knowledge if I could spend more time with these two ladies.

Mid-afternoon yesterday, while I was still at the UU church, we were told to go down to the basement because of a severe tornado warning. We watched its progress on television and, even better, some of us opened a basement door to the outside and enjoyed the fierce weather as long as we could: dark clouds, heavy rain, lightning and thunder, and some wind. We heard that the funnel had touched down here and there, but it passed us by. For me the lesson is that I need to pay attention to the weather and seek out shelter when tornadoes approach.

Today I'll replenish the larder of my home-on-wheels, and make sure it's all set to travel. And then it'll be back to the road for my Climate Walk for All the Grandchildren.

1 comment:

Bete said...

Your description of your visits with your two hostesses make me think of the hobbits regaining strength for their quest at Tom Bombadil's house or at one of the elvin houses.
Here's wishing you a great week of walking. Bete