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Dear 35th Ave NW, you could have been so much more. I know you feel shiny with your new asphalt and your bright yellow and white striping. It must feel great to have those car tires rushing over you smoothly at high speeds, the rumble of a disused muffler punctuating the sunny summer day.

But think of all the people walking and riding who would have graced your surface if only we’d designed you differently. Those streamlined lanes encourage high speeds and make the street feel unfriendly to those souls not wearing 2 tons of steel. The heady speeds dissuades the jockeys of the majestic automobile from interrupting their frolic with the need to stop at cross walks, intent on their next destination. Purposeful or lazy walks and rides will not travel your road, replaced by revving motors and the honks of the entitled.

Can you picture this? A vibrant community of neighbors and businesses united by walkability. Shopping and conversing, the voices of children raised in laughter are just a few of the activities that would happen. Our lovely canopy of trees sheltering your new pavement as families bike to shops and say hello to friends and neighbors.

Now the shops will be limited to customers who will drive and park in the cracked parking lots available at every business. People walking and biking will avoid the noisy, dangerous, and polluted area, taking their hard earned dollars with them. Especially knowing that many of these businesses wanted this dark, barren landscape, despite the voices of their neighbors. I hope there are enough people dedicated to their cars who will sustain those businesses.

Actually, I hope they all fall to dust.

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Let’s Get LostLet’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leila is taking a road trip to see the northern lights. We get hints at why she is doing this throughout the story, but author Adi Alsaid does an amazing job of keeping the truth from us until the last portion of the book.

Along the way, Leila meets 4 other teens in various states of confusion and crisis. She imparts wisdom as often only a brave outsider can do and helps these four follow a better path. She is like a mythic fairy godmother, but helping these people also helps Leila; first it distracts her from her own problems, then helps bring them into perspective.

I found the ending a little too convenient, but for the sake of spoilers I won’t go there. Great book, great character building. If you like John Green, you will like Adi Alsaid.

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