Hawthorne Steps, a sad house, and some butterfly wings

IMG_2100I parked on Arch Street between Rose and Vine across from another of those Little Free Libraries. And this one was jam-packed. (Or rather, it was book-packed. Jam would have made it a sticky mess.) A small pile of magazines lay on the ground beneath it–a periodical annex of sorts.

IMG_2102
Along Vine Street

From there I trekked up Vine Street, passing the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, and crossed Scenic Avenue (which probably is scenic from the second story of one of the houses but not so much from street level). At Hawthorne Terrace I turned left and headed north. On the curve of the street that turns toward Euclid Avenue I found the upper entrance to Hawthorne Steps (#98).

The pathIMG_2109 begins under the shade of trees on a solid concrete stairway. For the uppermost portion, a sturdy metal railing splits the walkway into the north(east) side and the south(west) side, perhaps in an effort to distinguish which side is meant to ascend and which to descend, like stairs in a subway. But except for the woman sitting at the top looking at her cell phone, I was the only person on the path. So it didn’t really matter which side I chose.

IMG_2108To one side was a large house with lovely landscaping, which contrasted greatly to the house built into the hill across from it–a dilapidated split-level two-story that has clearly not been cared for in decades. A sign in one window warned trespassers that it is indeed private property, possibly in response to some tagging I saw on one if its walls that’s hidden from the street. At the rear of the property a bent and rusty pipe about eighteen inches in diameter emerges from stones in the hill about eight feet off the ground. It seemed too big to be merely a drain pipe, but I don’t know what else it could be.

A design element that interested me was a passageway that allowed me from my perspective on the path to see all the way through the house to the other side. After I’d walked further down the path I could see the front of the house, which was a full story below the back entrance of the house. It was probably a grand estate a hundred years ago, but now it’s the neighborhood eyesore. A sad story lies there no doubt.

IMG_2103Although my map skills and sense of direction are arguably among the bottom one percent of all adults, I was able to help someone who was lost because I had on my person my trusty path wanderers map. Lesson? Natural talent is great, but having the right tool works too.

On my way back to the car, I passed a pair of broken butterfly wings and what appeared to be a kitty tiara with one ear broken off. Another sad story? Ah, but maybe they had already provided a lot of joy and lived full lives.

That’s what I’ll choose to believe.

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