I spent most of the winter traveling and much of the early spring stuck in the house nursing an injured tendon, my foot propped up and on ice. I didn’t get downtown as much as I usually do.
But one day last week I had back-to-back meetings in two separate locations so I parked my car in the middle and walked to each appointment. At the end of the day I had covered several blocks in either direction of the city center.
Maybe it was the sound of my shoes on the sidewalk (no limping!) tapping out a pedestrian rhythm. Or it might have been the familiar sight of handsome old buildings filled with offices where so many of my friends and acquaintances spend their days. It might have been passing restaurants jammed with lunchtime diners or window shopping as I walked by the beautifully decorated storefronts. It might have been the rush of early afternoon traffic or the sound of a friend’s voice calling out a greeting. All I know is that for a moment I was filled with a fine and familiar happiness at being back in the center of my city again.
I work from home now – a luxury I enjoy and appreciate – but when my office was downtown I spent part of each day walking from one appointment or (if I’m honest) distraction to another. I might push away from my desk to clear my head and walk down to the mall or take a stroll through Riverfront Park. I often walked to lunch with a friend or co-worker. I hurried over to the post office or snuck away to the Davenport Hotel for a cup of coffee and a dose of grandeur. Every day I made time to get out and reconnect with the people and places that make this city such an interesting place to live. It was my job, but it was also my pleasure. Even driving to work each morning, just as I rounded a curve and got a glimpse of the Spokane skyline, I was reminded of just how fond I am of this place.
I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed all that until, well, I got back on my feet again.
Cities are organic. They live and breathe. They are born of the dreams and hopes and fears of the men and women who build them. Spokane is no different.
Walking downtown, thinking about the history and the potential surrounding me, I understood that it wasn’t just good to be up and about again. It was good to be home.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at [email protected]