Last night I returned, fingers still numb, from a chilly evening Silver Lake stairwalk with my BIG PARADE friends. (If you join the Facebook group, you’ll find out about future strolls, too.) It’s been a long time since I walked through my neighborhood, and I noticed a few things I hadn’t seen since last time I was there. Also? IT’S CHRISTMAS!
First of all, the single most important difference: The triangle of concrete that doubles as a parking lot at Micheltorena Street Elementary is being torn up…for a community-funded and supported school garden! And if anyone doubted exactly what they were doing, the overwhelming scent of manure provided clear affirmation.
Second biggest difference: A few weeks ago this house was white. Now, for better or for worse, it has joined two other houses in the area in a two-tone celebration of our local basketball team. Here’s the Echo Park Laker House. Here’s the other Silver Lake Laker House. Although I suppose one could think our household was rooting for the Colts.
Behold! Our fearless winter walkers with our fearless leader, Dan Koeppel, crossing over Sunset Boulevard on the way to one of the 16 staircases we tackled last night. If people are wearing hats and scarves in LA, you know it’s cold (low of 46!).
Walking at night is a whole different animal. The air even smells different: chimney fires, ripe persimmons, and eucalyptus leaves. We take flashlights in one hand, water bottles in the other. We get to peek in the lit windows of our neighbors. And we get to critique their Christmas light displays.
Downtown had its lights on, too—if you squint you can see the little triangulated lights atop some of the buildings, meant to evoke a tree (but not too much). These little vistas slipped above a darkened staircase, or a glimpse of fairly starry skies near the reservoir: There are some true benefits to nighttime stairwalking.
Towards the end of the walk, we were treated to a double-yard bonanza with motorized reindeer, two-foot candy canes ringing the property, inflatable Santas, and at the center, this illuminated nativity scene. The people who lived there were still in the yard, putting the last touches on it, just in time for an audience.