From the time I moved to Portland in 2001, and from Ashland to Eugene and a few small towns in between, I have lived on or near a busy street. Is the common theme for where I decide to settle a coincidence or a subconscious choice from within? For most people a home near a main thoroughfare may be a deterrent, but for me it has value that is underappreciated in real estate and beyond. You see, my busy streets have represented life outside my doorstep. During the day if you sit near the front window, you may hear a rhythmic hum of cars going from place to place, peppered with the occasional car with modifications to the muffler, a holler, or a horn. At night, the “noise” factor fades into those who still have social lives past 8pm and my children sleep with an air purifier that doubles as white noise so that I don’t end up with an extra body in my bed.
With a backyard that offers a fair amount of serenity and privacy, I often find myself favoring the view from my front porch. It adds a sense of being part of something more than the comfort felt between the walls of my home, maybe even a vicariousness. Last night my six year-old and I sprinted back from dinner down our usually busy street, and with no cars in sight we felt as if we had challenged the fate of having to veer into the ditch…and we won. When it snows, our street brings an eerie calm, much like what most who live on side roads must experience on a daily basis. I enjoy this as I pull my kids up and down the quiet, steady slope like a horse with a sleigh just before I run back down the hill with them safely. It is nice, however when the snow finally melts, it gives me comfort that normalcy still exists, and the daily life in which we are accustomed will resume again.
I also like that I can put anything out from a cheap mirror to an old box of tile near the stump of our old white birch tree and there is always a taker. When we bought our modest 1920’s (project) home, neither my husband nor myself even noticed the street until we had unpacked our belongings and settled in. I reckon that it’s the reason we were the only buyers for this great little home on a street that offers the greatest views of all outside its door – those of life unfolding. And in a world where we are magnets to a four inch screen and our relationships seem to be contained by “social networks” and any other correspondence generated by opposable thumbs, I am thankful for the constant reminder that doing things and going places still exists.
Thank you for listening. Please drive through.