Twice a week, meetings bring me to Center City – some days for an hour or two, others for the entire workday. I was originally taking public transportation to and from the city, as I live in East Falls, but more recently I’ve been riding the R6 into the city, and then walking the 5 miles home via Kelly Drive.
I am no stranger to Kelly Drive. I drive that route to go anywhere in the city in lieu of I-76, I run the path almost exclusively several days a week and am now riding my bike there as well. After years of traveling the drive, I would have assumed I’d seen all there is to see here, but I was wrong.
A few things I’ve been oblivious to are quite obvious, others are interesting and one is a little nuts!
First thing, across from Lloyd Hall on the corner of Kelly Drive and Sedgley, there is a set of stairs I never noticed. On the back of one of the steps (to the right) is a small work of art, an astronaut. These found street art pieces are so interesting to me. The steps themselves lead up to another road I never realized was there, and at the top, there is a fantastic view of the city skyline with the Art Museum in front. It’s beautiful.
Walking past Boathouse Row allows for noticing all of the intricate details of each one of those houses. This area also provides for some pretty interesting people watching. It’s seems to be where groups meet up, and when walking, you hear longer bits of conversations that sometimes are just tiny quips of amusement.
After Boathouse Row, I usually veer off to the left so I can walk closer to the water. I run this way, too. Just recently I noticed an open letter shellacked to either side of the wall. This letter is dated August 2009 and addressed to “the Fairmount park demon.” In a nutshell, it is about some evil being that has returned to forbidden drive that the writer is going to hunt down and throw a rock at. It is genius, silly and deranged all at the same time. I cannot believe I have missed this for so long!
Saunter on a bit further and there are items, some new, some old, painted on the path. Random, I love yous, “M & A 4-ever” is out there and tags that keep you reading here and there.
On the way under one of the bridges there is a holly tree. I was surprised to notice it flourishing in the high heat of summer. Somehow it made things seem a little more wintery. I’ve never seen a holly tree, bush maybe, before.
I also find it easier to take note of the things that are on the other side of the drive, where there is no path. A bunch of statues over there, and a small waterfall right before the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
I will admit that, at first, this walk was merely out of convenience. If the next train was more than a 40-minute wait, I could feasibly be more than half way home by the time it arrived. Made more sense to walk.
What I have come to learn is the world is a very different place on a slow foot, and most things we pass by without even noticing because we are so distracted paying attention to what it is we are doing. There is wonder all around when you are waking, and prior details easily overlooked I have come to rather enjoy.