Saturday, December 23, 2006

Biking the Genesee

[I’m on volunteer assignment at the University of Rochester, serving an humanitarian non-profit called AHEAD Energy ]

Just got back from a bike ride; it was so sunny and dry out this morning I thought I'd take the Genesee River Trail into town and do some reading at Java's Cafe.

After a hearty cup of Colombia Supremo—there's no better, whatever they say—I decided to explore the nearby Midtown Plaza. I'd heard a lot about the "Clock of Nations," indoor monorail, famous skybridges, etc. and still had not made a visit. And what better time of the year, huh, it was Christmas in Rochester! In front of Messinger Hall I asked an alert-looking woman walking out of the Eastman Community Music School where the Plaza's main entrance might be located. I'd been in Rochester four month and no one that I'd asked, so far, seemed to really know. She struggled for a while and finally took a guess that it was "catty-corner to the Liberty Pole."

As she walked away I asked her how long she's lived in Rochester. For these four months I found it curious and ominous that the mall's access appeared to be so inconspicuous to me and others. The mall, one of the worlds first indoor shopping centers, had been suffering an economic set back for years due to urban flight. Having had a consistent fascination with marketing since age 12, I suspected it was due to something more mundane.

"All my life," she said... Case closed!

That beautiful, sunny, "Rochester warm (high 40s)" morning quickly changed to a dank, dark and cold afternoon with a 36 mile per hour headwind on the ride back. It felt like I was peddling up a ski slope, as I pushed my hunched over torso down Mt. Hope Ave., heading for the office! I rounded the corner onto Wilson Blvd. and my mind drifted to another day, soon after I arrived in Rochester, a "cider making" picnic I was invited to at the farm of my supervisor MJ's friend, Lauree. The rolling hills and rustic Northern New York country side (south of Canandiagua, I think) was also gorgeous that morning, and Lauree and company were very cool and kind to us.

I'm reminded again of how much fun relatives and friends are to just hang-out with (these days you're allowed to end with a preposition, if you want to).

Reporting from the underground...

Stan Morris