Today I realized it had been a while since I’d taken one of the Berkeley paths, and if I wanted to traverse them all, I’d better get busy. But I also had a limited amount of time. So of course the perfect one to take today was called The Short Cut.
On my way to the top of the path, I encountered a little library on Oxford. Although it was not an official Little Free Library, it was the same idea. I wonder if Berkeley has more of these little libraries than anywhere else on Earth…
The path’s upper end is on Oxford Street, and it runs along the side of Oxford Elementary School, where a few children were enjoying the sunny day in the yard and on the play structure after school hours. The playful squeals and laughter were sounds I know well from my teaching days. It was a refreshing change from the usual quiet walks where I rarely see anyone else.
The Short Cut is a paved gentle downhill slope with only a few steep stairs at the bottom where it ends on Walnut Street. Along the way was a small garden with a skeleton of a tent around it for some minimal protection from deer, I suppose. I couldn’t see what was planted there, so I may have to go back and check during another season to see if there’s been growth.
On Walnut Street, I saw another little library that was not one of those official Little Free Libraries, but it worked much the same way. Except it is also a living garden, which was a nice surprise.
The general theme of the couple of blocks around the Short Cut seemed to be kids because right on Walnut is a parent co-op that I’d never heard of before behind a lovely mosaic plaque that read:
We are the oldest parent childcare cooperative west of the Mississippi. This plaque was made on our 75th anniversary. Thanks to all who helped and thank you to all who make CCC CCC! 2003
Nice, huh? I don’t know how they figured out that they were the first, but kudos to them for their staying power! (I understand the last sentence, but it looks funny, doesn’t it?)
As I turned the corner back onto Oxford, I caught a glimpse of some ornaments hanging from a tree. When I stopped to investigate further, I noticed a hammock hanging from the trees between the sidewalk and the house. It was just waiting there for someone to jump in and enjoy the gorgeous afternoon. I loved that it was in what was essentially the side yard rather than in an enclosed back area. It seemed to be saying that one could relax and still be open to the outside world. Comfy but sociable. I hope it gets frequent use because I enjoy imagining someone in it, smiling at passersby who might be walking the paths of Berkeley.