Neighborhood Walk

I have always been a walker. When I was young, we walked to Westgate Mall. During high school, I walked to friend’s houses and random jobs. In college, I walked to campus, lugging my art supplies by my side (once, I even walked with my iMac). After college, I walked to the bus stop to take a 2-hour ride to work (20 minute drive, but our public transit is lacking, to say the least. I finally buckled down and got my driver’s license and a car at the end of the summer following college graduation. Even so, I try to avoid driving when at all practical. I am fortunate enough now to work just a few blocks from home, and I take recreational walks each day.

Walking has shown me that, no matter the neighborhood, city or state, there are always small details to appreciate if you are willing to look. So, in these Neighborhood Walk posts, I will try to share a few of the details I have found to enjoy on my daily jaunts.

The first route I’ll share is near Moravian College in Bethlehem:

Walking Route

Don't mind the points on the map—Not sure why they are there.

Abandoned Bike

Stolen and Ditched?

During my walk, I wandered through Fairview Cemetery. I had never been in this particular graveyard before, but, in this area, the cemeteries tend to be nice, almost park-like, so I wanted to check it out. Walking in, I noticed a termite or carpenter ant eaten tree bearing an intriguing regulations sign. Not that other cemeteries don’t have rules like this, but the wording struck me as odd, especially, “…nobody is profiting from its existence except maybe those interred here.” I also stumbled across a forgotten (or stolen and ditched?) child’s bicycle next to an abandoned t-shirt. Hoping all is well with that situation!

Fairview Cemetery Sign

Fairview Cemetery Regulations

Fake stump, real trunk.

Fake stump, real trunk.

On the other edge of the cemetery, I noticed this small tree stump stone nestled between a grave marker and a live tree. It didn’t seem to be part of the grave marker and seemed almost ironic next to the large real tree.

Additionally, and rather disconcertingly, I almost tripped into this creepy hole. After showing it to my husband, who cares for a cemetery as part of his job, he said it appears to be a collapsed vault. I was completely freaked out by the notion that I could have fallen into this grave, but he assured me it is “normal” for this to happen to old vaults …

Collapsed Vault

Collapsed Vault

So, while this particular cemetery wasn’t quite as peaceful as the others nearby, it provided lots of interesting features to hypothesize about and keep my interest piqued. Moving on to more stable ground, I found myself on a quiet and picturesque block full of nicer cars and well maintained gardens. Residents sat in rockers on their porches and occasionally called across the yard to one another in the muggy afternoon.

Lenox Street

Lenox Street

Brain-like fungus

Brain-like fungus

Some of the large trees in the neighborhood showed damage from the previous week’s hurricane, but most seemed to have weathered the storm quite well. One particular tree has grown a rather large fungus, now at least 12 inches tall. Fungus has always intrigued me and grossed me out simultaneously. I feel like it could be thought of as the coral of the land with its fascinating shapes and colors.

Moving down the street, I saw this beautiful stone wall, which, like any stone wall I come across, reminded me of my father’s reading of “The Mending Wall” by Robert Frost. The brightly colored flowers atop the wall especially stood out in the cloudiness.

Slate Wall

Slate Wall

Coming out onto Main St., I found myself looking at Chinese characters. I am not sure how long this church has been here, but I never noticed the Bethlehem Chinese Church before. I knew about a Korean church in town and had passed a Hindu temple on the way to the pick-your-own strawberry field, but I was pleasantly surprised to see this tribute to the growing multicultural community in the Lehigh Valley.

Bethlehem Chinese Church

Bethlehem Chinese Church

As I kept walking up the road, I saw another church ahead of me. I know I’ve driven past this church on any number of occasions, but I never consciously noticed the massive artistic cross grouping on the front lawn. Of any of the various 3 cross lawn adornments I have seen (most of which have been in the south), I was impressed with the originality of this work. It was modern and sleek despite its monumental size.

Three Crosses

Three Crosses at St. Stephen's

Arriving home, I was not only content with having walked, but was grateful to have noticed the details of the town that provide gifts to those who take note. I am always anxious to see what I’ll find in the next neighborhood I venture into.

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