The Western Terminus of 37a Avenue

It was around this time last year that I stopped posting here. It was not intentional. I ran out of time in the day. My job situation changed significantly; the learning curve steepened, and my time spent outside and away from computers increased drastically. I really like that about my new job, but every few months I’ve looked back longingly at this blog, wishing I had the time and mental energy at the end of the day to come up with something.

Driving is a major component of this job. I travel the streets and back alleys of Wetaskiwin, Millet, and the westernmost reaches of the county, all the way out to Alder Flats, and all points between. I’ve been been racking my brain for the last little while, trying to come up with something that fits the theme here, but I’m just not convinced that anyone will share my passion for the convenience of 48th Street. In case you’re intrigued, if you ever want to skip the busyness and traffic lights on 49th and the school zones and cross-walkers of 47th, 48th is a delightful alternative with only one stop sign and very little traffic. But you can’t build a blog post around that!

And then the other night I was on my way to pick up a snack for my sweetheart and I to share for our “date night.” It’s amazing how having kids who don’t sleep well lowers one’s expectations for date night. A bag of chips and a movie is about as exciting as it gets for us these days (My wife is laughing exhaustedly in a chair across from me as I read this to her).

I was headed west towards the Automile on 37a Avenue, and about to turn up behind Safeway when I noticed the sun setting off behind the Pizza Hut. Without hesitation I sailed past the turn off and coasted across the Automile westbound. The sunset and the soundtrack playing in the minivan required my attention.

On the west side of the Automile (also known as 56th Street), 37a Avenue runs past Pizza Hut, a pawn shop, and then dead ends about a block later. There is a very convenient snow road I made good use of this past winter that connects this avenue with the back side of Walmart, but that snow road is now a mud road, and my work van is not adventurous enough to use it any longer. All this to say, it’s supposed to be a dead end.

I made my way to this dead end, and restarted the song, a new-ish offering by Coldplay; “Midnight.” Definitely worth looking up. And while I have nothing against the video for the song, if you’re planning to experience this song via YouTube like I did, I’d recommend ignoring the video in favour of a good sunset.

There is nothing quite like a spring time sunset. It is a sensory experience beyond the visual. You can smell a spring sunset, at least I smelled it that night, with the window rolled down, the music rolling out and the evening air wandering casually in. The visual aspect also bears mentioning. It was the typical prairie offering; varying flavours of orange and pink, in unorganized layers. And you can’t truly appreciate the beauty of a sunset without the interruption of cloud. There’s probably an analogy there.

I sat for the length of the song with my arm hanging out of the window, resting against the side of the car. The city hummed gently behind me, and the county presented the splendour before me. Those five minutes and seven seconds were all the time it took to convince me that I had stumbled upon the best sunset-viewing spot truly in Wetaskiwin.

It’s possible you may feel like this is unremarkable subject matter on which to base a blog post. You may be right; I know the thought crossed my mind, even lingered. And then I realized that if an optimist waited for only remarkable reasons to be optimistic, he might be sadly disappointed a lot of the time. I’ve decided to continue to make it my business to find joy and adventure in even the smallest things, and I’ll do my best to guide this weblog in that direction.

So if you feel the need to “get out of town”, and find yourself unable, take advantage of this quiet corner of the city. I’ll recommend the evening of a partly cloudy day, and if you are slightly melancholic like me, may I also recommend the soundtrack?

P.S. If you are reading this, you probably are one of three people: my wife, my mom, or some very patient person who has put up with my epic lapse in posting. I can’t guarantee a return to more regular posting, but I can guarantee I’m going to try. Thank-you for reading!

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2 Responses to The Western Terminus of 37a Avenue

  1. In spite of growing up just at the other end of that street (I have fond memories of salamander-hunting in the drainage ditch), I have never actually been across the Automile at that spot. It wasn’t even a road when i lived there. Your post–finding beauty in a spot that most people would disregard–reminds me of the book I’ve been reading for the past 9 months (One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp).

  2. mama jeanne says:

    Yes, this is your Mom 🙂 Next time I’m out will you please take me to see the flavors of orange and pink in unorganized layers out on 37 A? I’d love that! When I find those little moments and places of sanctuary my own neighborhood I’m so thrilled. Thanks Simon for taking us there with you. I think I smell your spring sunset way over here 🙂 I love you Son and I want to hear more about your town… anytime ….. all the time!

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