It certainly didn’t hurt the cause to walk underneath and between tropical clouds. A half-hour up the road, and back again, I couldn’t quite believe how many surprising and unexpected things were happening around lunchtime through this division of the country neighborhood. I’d biked up and down this road at least a hundred times, but at the pedestrian pace, each house opened its driveway to my perspective; unique, strange, familiar, dirty, beautiful, gated, kitsch, broken, burned down and rebuilding, political, stucco, solar paneled.
I knew that these houses were there, but had I ever really looked at them? This whole street felt as much a mystery to me as a foreign land. A PG&E crew replacing or adding more transformers to a pole, a staccato of cars as the traffic managers exchanged radio calls in Spanish, rotating their octagons of control from slow to stop and back again. Everything about their work, denim outfits, hardhats, running generators, the foreman for the job talking to the technician up in the bucket about the next steps in their procedure and the kind of lag bolts they needed.
Bushes lined both sides of the road, familiar, the smell and the shape well known to me but I was uncertain of the name. How was it that I could recognize so many things, the look and the odor together so familiar, and have no idea what to call it? Did I have a name for it in my head? The pointed looking bush that feels like a tree but really isn’t. Just how many things could you know, but not name?