Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Walking with the green man

In London, they call this "the green man."

"Wait for the green man," the walking tour guides would say as they shepherded us through busy intersections. "We'll wait for you on the other side if the signal changes, so don't do anything dangerous."

Painted at each pedestrian crossing are helpful reminders to look right before crossing. With arrows to tell you which way "right" is. Especially useful for all of the Americans, Germans, French and Netherlanders who are conditioned to look for traffic coming from the left.

Once I got home it took a couple of weeks before I was solid on looking left again instead of right. I still tend to walk on the left side of the sidewalk, though...possibly my only behavioral legacy of living in London.

Here in the U.S., as you see, things are slightly different. While I was in London, and the green man was called to my attention, I was all, like, wait--has the man always been green, and I just never noticed? No. The man here is white. But no one ever refers to this as "the white man"--it's just called a "walk signal." Which is a bit dull, don't you think? Why don't we have a green man?

Of course, when I hear "green man," I think of the Green Man, not the green man, so those first couple of references confused me a little. (I am easily confused.) I didn't see many representations of the Green Man in London, aside from public houses named after him. I counted three or four without even trying to find them.

Below are the homely sights I captured today on my walk to/from my favorite cafe and bakery in Minneapolis, a town bereft of Green and green men.

But we do have Million Dollar Bars for $2.39. Top that, Kensington.

Don't ask why the "Y" is bigger than all the other letters...nobody knows.

My doughnut, latte, beans and book (Wilco on the sound system) kept me content for an hour, then I hit the sidewalks of Minneapolis again. Which are still a puddly mess in places, but that's what spring is all about.

Delicate-blue spring sky with biscuit-like clouds--a sky cobbler!--as the cardinal sang from this treetop:

Ducks paddled on the open water, dogs gallumphed over the soggy turf, and all the city's winter weary were out in force. Including a friend from my last job, who I met by chance on the creekside path. We caught up on life as the bicycle wheels whirred by.

Note Golden Retriever taking a dip among the ducks....

Happy spring to all!


  1. I so enjoyed everything about this post, Carmine. Lovely. And the Green Man, if you ever can, stop by Asheville, NC.. SO many Green Man themed bars, pubs, music venues, breweries and cafes. Stop by Jack of the Wood... it's magical.

    Green man isn't very popular in NY, here, the goddess abounds...

    Your picture of your donut and gorgeous beverage has sealed the deal... today I will be off to my cafe to edit this darn manuscript.

    Spring's blessings to you.

    1. May your revisioning be fruitful and your coffee/tea divine, Raquel!


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