The picture that I had intended for this post remains in my head. It is a sheath of red and green Christmas flowers bound in a perfect circle and hanging by the side of the wooden bridge over the Tower lake at the entrance of Cougar Village. It has been there since winter began as a sign for the season. I don’t know who put it there but it always makes a good sight every time I drive by, and I have always been too preoccupied with driving to be able to take a perfect picture of it. And so, it remains in my head.

One more disadvantage of being able to drive is the laziness it induces. All my favourite haunts on campus once familiar to regular treading of my bicycle tyres have now become distant acquaintances. But for that battery run-out on the car a few weeks ago that forced me to walk home at night in the cold, I probably won’t even have recognized what the bike paths look like. It’s sad, I know. It is also fattening. Goodness knows how large I’m going to become by the end of this school year. We have not even mentioned the cost of gas made higher often, no less, by Nigerian agitators in the Niger Delta. It has warmed up for a while in the last few days and a bike ride is looking very likely now, if only I can muster the patience to walk again to campus in order to pick up my bike where I’d left it a few weeks ago.

But this post is not about the bike, the car or the Christmas sheath. It is the treasures of the little city. Not much a delight as it was last year through a stranger’s eyes, it is growing into an even more familiar friend. From new wineries being discovered in the most obscure corners to making friends in wine shops downtown with the hopes of getting my picture artworks displayed on their walls. If what this is is the subliminal instinct working towards replicating an already picturesque childhood, this will be more interesting than expected. All we need now is a dog. I already have many stories to tell.

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