Another Fresh Start or Out of the Sewer

There is something miraculous about Syracuse, NY, in the morning. Well, OK, maybe miraculous isn’t the best word for it, but the word is a word and it’s to describe something in a zealous to borderline overzealous fashion.

It wasn’t long ago I took advantage of a Friday morning. My partner was busy that day with work-related issues, but she would have gladly joined me for a morning cup of coffee. We promised each other weeks before that we’d celebrate the end of a work week with an enjoyable cup of coffee.

Although this particular Friday didn’t work out for our meeting, celebrating the local coffee grind and dance between conversational topics we did not elaborate fully on or failed to discuss the night before. The moment would feature idle technology, closed laptops and blackened phones, and blissful relationship moments of holding hands and making eye contact through swirls of steam erupting from volcanic java still bubbling after being dispensed into a paper cradle.

That day I entered the center Armory limits of Syracuse, crawling up through a sewer hole. (Not literally, of course. That wouldn’t bode well in terms of my hygiene, appearance and reputation at work – my bosses and coworkers would be concerned if I came in as goopy.) But when you’re in a sewer – please also note my sewer experiences come directly from watching literature and media (especially IT and Ghostbusters II, but definitely not that Stallone film Daylight), not actually exploring underground passages – every corridor and corner turned looks and feels the same. Unless a map is readily accessible, a person really doesn’t know where the hell they’re going (if they’re not a directional savant). After meandering and deciding which heavy metal portal to re-enter the waking world, it’s then the sunlight hits the face and clean oxygen fills the lungs.

I hit up The Stoop Kitchen (and café) for coffee that day in early May. The fresh smell of baked goods and Forty Weight coffee woke up and calibrated my senses. Although nothing was consumed other than liquid black gold, there was much to take in and absorb and enjoy.

Kegs were in-process of being transferred into the basement of Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub. Although owner David was not to be seen, it’s confident to say he was somewhere. The hands-on publican can be seen doing almost anything, including sweeping the sidewalk of his corner-bound establishment.

Pastabilities Daily Bread. [Photo by C. Malone]
The scent of freshly baked Pastabilities notorious stretch bread exploded out of their screened door, which surprisingly hasn’t been patched from all the patrons’ noses, which, I know, have been grabbed by the curling delicious aroma and pulled toward the small sidewalk shop, poking at the screen. Some are bound to break through.

The little things like the birds, which have decided its spring, dive and soar as if they’re accomplishing some fairytale feat. The other early birds walking the streets. Feet, including my own, loudly patting the pavement with each step. The foot-cement clap announces my pace, the speed of my beat in life. Each thump echoes off the adjacent, perpendicular brick or cement walls. Even the cracks are more than cracks — they’re veins. The wear and tear only mean the heart is still beating, the body is still alive and the lungs are still heaving after all these years.

It’s a mile walk from Armory back to work, which equals about give-or-take 15 minutes, depending on my pace or if I stop to talk to others or take a picture for later use. The Syracuse sidewalks are walkable even if the potholes are street hindrances and drop the grade of drivable streets. Moments from when you begin, you arrive.

Whether listening to music or the sounds of everyday urban life, it’s easy to get caught up in thoughts or contemplating what’s around town, on your path. It’s a miraculous thing – there I go again – to feel that relaxed and have time tick away faster than the pace of moving legs and feet. It’s easy to get caught up in and lost in familiar territory, but there’s no need for a map this time.

Anyways, there was a point to this update. I can’t recall what. It doesn’t matter anyway.

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