I stayed home sick yesterday, mostly holed up in my apartment, fairly unaware of any lovely weather outside until the people on the radio kept mentioning it. So I ventured out onto Summit, past the James J. Hill house, past million dollar mansions, past many households enjoying the day on their front porches, to stop at my favorite sunny day overlook at the corner of Summit and Ramsey Hill.
I could say that I know Summit Avenue well, and it would be true. But perhaps more true is how well the soles of many pairs of running shoes know the sidewalks, and how well my bike tires know the bike lane. Summit is better traveled in these ways than in a car, as it lets you take in more wraparound porches, helps you notice the newspapers stuck in the fence of the governor’s mansion, gives you more time to wonder about who actually lives in these gigantic structures. (I still remember driving down Summit with my family as a child, with my brother gaping: “Is that ONE HOUSE?”)
How many miles have I traveled back and forth down Summit, through all the seasons? Hundreds? Thousands? How many times have I headed west by bicycle, gaining as much momentum as I could down the hill between Snelling and Fairview, thinking this is my favorite 1/2 mile stretch of biking anywhere in the cities? Running on Summit is so common, so predictable, and maybe that’s why I’ve stuck to it for so long, always knowing where my mile markers are.
Although it’s been a few summers since I’ve made it to the river on my runs (about 10 miles round trip), it always felt triumphant. Now all I’ll have to do is reverse my landmark, making the Cathedral my goal, knowing it’s all downhill on the way home.
(image via Cage Design)