I take walks with my dog at night. Walks eastward, or westward, which is longer. Sometimes southward, though never too far. Sometimes, when I’m feeling ambitious, south and then west, making a large loop of the grid. Never northward, though — or at least, never north of the levee, as there lies dangers.
My nightly jaunts reveal to me all manner of wonders. Three friends sitting around a firepit, hawking loogies and sipping on forties. A woman folding her clothes in a second-floor unit of the Salvation Army transitional housing center. The burnished dark wood rafters and built-ins of an exquisitely re-done Craftsman, brilliantly lit, expensively decorated for the holidays, and completely devoid of people or anything, really, resembling personal charm. An African-American man of indeterminate age, picking out a jazz number on an indifferently-tuned piano set under a gas lamp on the deep porch of a high-water American Foursquare. A woman sitting in her walker and casually perusing her socials while she listens to the impromptu concert across the street. An enormous Victorian mansion, at various times in its life a private home, a brothel, a private club, an event center, and now a youth hostel, playing classical music triggered by a motion sensor on the grounds, the better (apparently) to drive away squatters. A lonely flautist, heard only from the alleyway deep in the old japanese ghetto south and west of the Capitol. The aroma of cookies baking, and the ripe scent of fatties leaking out of cars while gig workers queue up for delivery of late-night baked goods to their various customers.
In short, a Hopperian garden.