Independent Assignment 6/17/21

Go outside for thirty minutes, and take a walk in any direction. Notice what you observe, what you feel, what you think.  Imagine that you are going to turn that thirty minutes into a chapter in a novel and try to notice as much as possible about your experience as you can.

When you get back, take fifteen minutes to write down what you have observed.  Submit at least one paragraph from what you’ve written in the comments.


16 thoughts on “Independent Assignment 6/17/21

  1. It’s sunny out today. During noon, you can feel the heat immediately when you just step out of the building. It is quiet on the street, seeing some people are walking around, even car are parked at the sides of the road only. Someone is holding a blue color umbrella, she is been hidden in the shadow, can’t tell what age she might be, sunglasses and mask are covering her whole face. She is a little rush, I see her speeding up her walking. She disappears from my sight after seconds, and I feel I’m breathing deeply in this no wind weather. Trees are green and leafy. The sun was scorching my back and I had to stop and take shelter for a while. I rest a little bit under the shadow of the tree. My glasses are starting foggy and my mouth is dry. I watched the sunlight absorbed by the road that evaporates together with the exhaust gas emitted by the passed-by cars, they are like waves of sunlight constantly undulating on the road. My shirt is getting wet, I can’t stay any longer outside at this temperature. It is time to going back, to have some water.

  2. A little stroll through the street of Brooklyn.
    My Alarm ringed, I guessed it was time for me to wake up. It was 6:30am, my window was opened and I felt the cold morning breeze slipping through it. Astonished! Was it cold? I asked myself. I guessed it would be best to wear my denim jacket today. I left my house, it was 7:00 am, to go to the gym, but somehow, I found myself lost in what made Brooklyn Brooklyn. Oh! I said to myself, here was the smell of fish since I was passing by my local supermarket, but it did not bother me somehow since I have smelled worse living in New York. The Two to four-story historical Red brick buildings stood tall as the sun put on a show. The sun was bright, yet it was not warm nor hot as one would expect, but it was quite early and I was glad it wasn’t; since I had a jacket on. My neighborhood has been mostly Chinese populated and nothing was opened before 11am. I guessed that was why the street was so empty; since usually it was super festive with a lot of people around buying and talking in a language I wished I could understand. it always fascinated me how many stores one Avenue could have, It was Avenue U In Brooklyn. Here was a Chinese restaurant, next door was a Vietnamese restaurant and next door a Mexican one. Wow! I said to myself, didn’t they worry about being each other competition? I guessed not. I continued to walk to the next block, there was a pharmacy, I think it is run by a Jewish man, then A Russian restaurant, then a Tattoo parlor. I always wanted a tattoo, I said to myself but the thought quickly left my mind. It was time to cross to the next block, the sign said STOP, but they were no cars coming, so, I did the obvious thing we did in Brooklyn and crossed the street. There was the dollar tree store, it had everything you could possibly need from food, appliance, decor to construction tools. I had to go in, even though I did not need anything. Well since I was there, I said to myself; I might as well get some amuse-bouche for later. So, I picked some of my favorite snacks, which I should stop eating, paid, and left the store, The next block was the train station, the Q train station to be exact, so, I hopped on the next Q train to Manhattan where my gym was.

  3. The staircase windows give me a sneak peek at how beautiful it is outside. I remember going to school in the morning during spring/summer time. It felt so refreshing to see rich yellow beams cascading down the stairs. As I step outside of my building, a gush of air envelops me, as it does every time, and my eyes slowly adjust to all the brightness. I like staying inside and seeing people walk up and down the hill from my window, all with their own missions and destinations. At the same time I’m glad to feel the sun’s heat on my skin as I walk down this hill myself. As always, my neighbor, who lives in one of the only traditional homes in my area, is tending to her small garden. The stems of one plant love to sneak outside of the fence and into the sidewalk when she isn’t around. Every time I go outside, she is cutting away at the stems, making sure the plants never disturb the sidewalk. They might be having a party today, seeing as balloons are tied all around the fences. Or maybe a graduation party? Either way, they always have such nice decorations, especially during Halloween (I wonder what I’ll do for Halloween; I never really do anything to celebrate my birthday…). A woman with soft blond hair walks a dog that weirdly resembles her. The leash was nearly invisible to this dog, and he insisted on exploring every corner and crevice of this sidewalk. I let him have his space.

  4. He jumps on my lap, and runs toward the doorway, this is when I know he means business. It could mean that he wants to play until he passes out, he sees the rabbit next to the garden, the people walking along the dirt road… could’ve been anything for all I know. But as I opened the door, he ran out to his normal spot and continued with his daily routine. What a goofy dude he is, sprinting around like crazy after he finished his business like he could conquer the world.
    There are no street signs or stores where I currently live, only bright colors of green, brown, blue and a small amount of white that covered parts of the sky. Yesterday was a cold and cloudy day, whereas today is much more beautiful… a light breeze, 77 degrees, putting my mind at ease. I closed my eyes for several minutes trying to listen for a loud sports car or a big 18-wheeler using their gears to brake on the highway in the distance… only to hear the birds chirping, and my father calling out, “Buddy… You finished!?” I open my eye to see my him stabbing the ground, soaking in his dirty shirt. I look over to Momo again… He is passed out underneath the pear tree, boiling away in his dark coat.
    Suddenly, my stomach growls, followed by a sharp pain… boy was I hungry. I walked over to my father and said,
    “Hey you want something?” he replied “Sure, get me whatever you’re getting.”
    “Alright I’ll see you soon… take it easy, be careful,” I said.
    Days earlier, my father decided that he was going to clean part of the house by himself before the painter got to the house, but he ended up being in the hospital for more than 6 hours soon after that decision. No broken bones, just needed to be evaluated for his consciousness and well-being.
    I turn off the car, open the door and yell “Remember to drink some water and take some breaks!” …He smiles and nodded and replies “It’s the Canadian blood buddy, now go get me my sandwich.”
    I put the key back in the ignition and start her up again. She’s getting old these days. The clutch is starting to grind when I put her in third gear up the road. I said to myself, “Sheeeesh, this baby either needs a mechanic, or I need a new car.” I drove for many, many miles to get to the deli. The commute is full of tiny backroads, and a lot of careless drivers, but the houses are so big and beautiful, so I couldn’t blame them for going over the double yellow line.
    30 minutes definitely passed when I arrived to the Deli, But I will say the old fellas at the deli can really set you up with an excellent meal. I got two Bell towers (Bacon, egg, cheese, hash brown, and chicken cutlet) with hot sauce (or you can get maple syrup) in case you were wondering 🙂

  5. As I step outside, the refreshing breeze lingered on my skin. I knew it was going to be a beautiful day. It’s a bright and sunny Thursday. I barely see any clouds in the sky which is a good thing because it has been cloudy or raining for few days. People were taking a stroll, walking their dogs, or just absorbing the good old vitamin d. Majority of the residents had no masks but they were keeping their proper distance. I came across a family, they didn’t look like they were from here. They had a Canon camera around their neck and maps pulled up on their iPhone. This weather was made for a good exploration and adventure. It makes me reminisce when my family from overseas traveled and we brought them sight-seeing. As I look down on my phone to check the temperature, I see that the radiant sun will disappear since it will be partly cloudy tomorrow and Saturday will be raining. I am glad that I got a chance to appreciate this June weather, looking to more days like this.

  6. My sister loves to go on walks after dinner, always asking if I want to come along. About every other time she asks I take her up on the offer, some times she asks right before the Mets game starts and I just don’t want to miss it, other times she will ask at the perfect time and i’ll accept. We always walk the same way down to the end of our street, take a left onto the connecting road, walk to the end of that street and turn around. Today is different, today I’ll walk it alone. I lace up my Converse that just might offer the least amount of support for your feet but it is pretty much the only shoe I’ll wear and I head out. I live in a quite town in Westchester so theres not much going on right outside my house. As Im walking I can’t help but notice how quiet it is without my sister. The birds are so much louder when you’re not talkig over them and the sky is so blue, not a single cloud above me. Looking at the sky makes my mind wander and I start thinking about the Youtube videos I’ve been watching about space and Earth and dinosaurs, basically a channel dedicated to answering science based questions (called Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell). As I walked I was staring at the sky thinking about the latest video describing the day the dinosaurs died. Staring at the sky I could not stop thinking about how the asteriod looked in the sky and how the video said at first it would look like a new star was in the sky and then slowly over weeks it grew bigger and bigger. I started to imagine what my neighborhood looked like at the time that actually happened. Being lost in thought looking at the neighborhood around me took up almost all of my walk, about 100 yards from my house a couple cars passed me snappnig me out of my daydream. I recognized them but I do not know their name so I just give them a friendly wave. Walking the rest of the way enjoying the weather and listening to the quiet neighborhood around me.

  7. I had to take my dog out for a walk anyway. And what an absolutely beautiful day. I’d give it a 9/10, the 1 point deduction being a result of a little too much sunshine for my liking. I personally prefer the occasional cloud passing through, offering a break from the intensity of the direct rays of the sun. I noticed the lack of humidity, a welcome observation. I noticed the intermittent pre-summer breeze (it’s still spring, huh?) about five seconds or so between gusts, just enough time before the sun starts to gets too hot on my skin. I’m afraid to get sun burnt (again) this summer. Et voila! Another form of periodic reprieve: the shadows of trees. Since when did I have so many types of trees in my neighborhood? I have absolutely no idea, and even worse, no idea of how I have no idea. I’ve definitely seen the neighborhood have some trees cut down, but I guess I failed to notice that the new trees with which they replaced them were always a new variety (breed? Or was the right word type?).

  8. It’s sunny and bright. A small breeze came by and it brought along the smell of smoke from the cigarette smoked by the person near me. It’s noisy and bustling with people on the streets. Car’s are passing by fast and slow. Honking sounds came and go. I walked down the street. Then from behind me came some guy on his SoloWheel. He went and passed by me. It looked cool. No need to walk. How fun it seemed. Must be pretty expensive from the looks of it. I watched that guy’s back as he zoomed through to the next street already while I am still on my third step. So fast I thought. I looked up in the sky. Some birds flew by. I can hear their chirping sounds. They better not drop bird poop on me I muttered to myself. I hear kids noisy playing around the streets. A boy and a girl. Don’t know what they are talking about but they are sure screaming their lungs out laughing and giggling. Crazy kids. As I passed by them, I looked. They better not hit me I thought. No, it’s better to be careful, let’s avoid it! Whoops! that was close. Whew!! Ok, road clear. I continued my short journey. Looked at the tree in front of me. Ok, good, the branches are not too low. It won’t hit my head. No need to bend down when walking by it. Ugh! the flies. They are huge! Disgusting! I hate it whenever I walk by this area. Flies are always flying around. Is it because there are more trees around this area than others? I’m suspecting that it is the reason. I saw two dogs walked by someone coming towards me. Hmm, they are one big and one small. Seem’s like the small one is peeing. Ok, let’s walk around it. My walking continued. I think nice weather but too many bugs. I want to go home. Ok. I’m going back.

  9. The slightly discolored sign in the elevator reads “Mask Required,” but I am not wearing one. A few minutes earlier, I received an email from the super: “As a result of Governor Cuomo’s amendment of state mandated Covid-19 restrictions yesterday, pursuant to the achievement of the monumental threshold of 70%…fully vaccinated residents and their vaccinated guests are no longer required to wear masks or to maintain six feet of social distancing.” I relayed the note to Leslie at the reception desk and he exclaimed, “people have been stripping off their masks all day.” I thought to myself, that was an unusually sexual way to put it, but I guess he was excited and a little nervous about going back to normal. I stepped out onto 88th Street as a slice of sun hit my face. I took a deep breath. I heard the World Cup crowd roaring at Phil Hughes bar. In the long run, the pandemic will be seen to have helped this bar, among many others. Prior, it was considered the neighborhood dive, a bar that no one went to. During the pandemic they added an outdoor space and placed big screen TVs on the brick façade. They must have ten times the patrons now, and the space to accommodate some well-deserved socializing.

  10. I frequently find myself wandering alone through the park. The lovely trees, the way the pink and white flowers fall beneath my feet with every stride. When the flowers blossom, it’s the most breathtaking sight you’ve ever seen, with all the varied colors that emerge. When you take a deep breath and smell pure air, you feel free and alive. I prefer to sit on the old wooden bench, where the bench frame is a little rusty, and clear my mind while my eyes scan the sky. In the summer, the slight breeze makes me shudder, and breathing in the fresh air feels like sitting in front of a fan. Some mornings, the sun shines brightly across a sky that isn’t quite blue yet, but has nearly fully risen. The grass blades are grazed by the wind when it blows. Some days, all I have to do is stand and take a deep breath in to get a taste of summer. When the bees buzz and chase me around the park as I try to flee away, I soon lie down on the soft grass and take a deep breathe and listen to the breeze and the children playing in the park.

  11. Nathalie worried as she thought to herself “I hope it’s not too late to complete my English assignment.” It was Friday and at 5:01 exactly, she rushed to close out the numerous open programs that had accumulated on her work laptop throughout the day. Nathalie was determined to complete her independent assignment before the day’s end. “Preparation is half the journey”, she thought as she started to gather the items she felt were “essential” for a short walk. Her two dogs, Gus’Gus and Tio, rushed up the stairs behind her as she frantically looked for her things. Tying her shoes, she spotted her AirPods under her nightstand. “Lucky! I would have never found those!” she exclaimed.
    Standing at the front door, Nathalie checked the list she made in her head. “Gus’Gus and Tio, check, dog waste bags, check, AirPods, check, little joint and lighter, check.” Realizing she was ready to go, she grabbed her dual-dog leash and took a right out of her house. There were 2 ways to get to the park and today, Nathalie decided to take the quieter route. She figured she would stay off the main road until she circled back. As Tio lead the way, Nathalie noticed how hot it still was for 5:30 pm. She wished she was wearing shorts. As she got halfway down the road, she remembered a little old lady she used to wave hi to everyday last summer when she made the same trek, down the same road, to the same park. Nathalie was sad when she didn’t see her on her porch. She liked those moments when with just a smile, she could brighten someone’s day, that might be lonely.
    Nathalie was glad to reach the end of this road, turning right again for the road that leads to the park. This was one of her favorite parts of the neighborhood. The road had recently been closed off for cars after a bad storm. Nathalie took advantage of the opportunity and walked down the center of the road. As she made her way down this houseless road, to her right were dense trees as far as the eye could see, to her left a river with an old fence. In the middle of the road where the fence ends, Nathalie noticed a really old structure she never seemed to notice before. “It looked like there might have been a bridge here at some point,” she thought. She looked beyond the 19th-century bridge-less entrance and realized the path on the other side was just about right for a horse and buggy. Her imagination started racing as she realized how old her town was. Tio yanked on his leash and they continued on their walk.
    As she arrived at the edge of the park, Nathalie knew she was halfway through her walk. In the distance, past the baseball field, there were children in the playground. This was a strange sight for Nathalie as she was still used to seeing the playground empty as parents worried about the spread of covid. She continued her journey through the park, noticing the river always on her right. When she finally made it past the baseball field, playground, and town pool, Nathalie saw a man fishing on the lake. She headed toward the bench farthest down the lake, closer to home. There, Nathalie sat with her dogs and just enjoyed nature for a while before heading home where she could finally submit her independent assignment for 6/17/2021.

  12. The first thing you notice is the smell. The saltiness of ocean brine hits you like a truck as you step outside the house, eyes closed. The second thing you notice is the sound. The thundering waves crash into the shore as the breeze carries the water and permeates through your entire body. It’s almost therapeutic, like a background noise that lulls you to sleep at night. The third thing you notice is the sight. The blue of ocean provides a stark contrast against the warm light of the sunset. The colors seem to come together, and despite the clashing colors, there exists a harmonious note. Lastly, you notice the feeling. As you step into the sand, the cool ocean water hits your feet and jolts you awake. Smell, sound, sight, and feeling. It’s in that order that I see the world. The luxury of having the ocean as my backyard is something I’ve been taking for granted, but one I feel as though I should appreciate more. It’s hard to really surrender to nature when inside your head, you have an ocean of thoughts swimming through your mind. Sometimes, my thoughts are like a calm summer’s night. Other days, like today, my mind is a tidal wave of emotions just rolling through my mind. I feel the pull of the ocean trying to drag me out and drown me out. There’s a lot that’s been going on, afterall. From my own departure of the city that I’ve called home for the past decade, to my grandmother moving overseas, to the end of a four year long relationship, it’s been hard to navigate through such rocky waters. But isn’t that life? Isn’t life just like the ocean? Some days you can peer over the skyline and see nothing but calm. Other days, you can’t see two inches in front of you as a storm billows through the sea. The important thing to keep in mind, though, is the destination. I’m bound for the tropical island and despite what obstacles the sea may throw my way, I need to be able to keep balance in life and maintain my course in order to reach it.

  13. It was a nice weather out today, very sunny and the sky was blue. I don’t usually take walks because I simply don’t have time to. From school to work and home responsibilities I never really stop and enjoy the moment sometimes and I feel like this walk helped me with that. I saw many people taking walks, riding their bikes, and walking their dogs. There’s a sort of familiarity in all the faces I passed and I didn’t know the origin of it until I was down the block. This is my childhood neighborhood, I have seen all these faces in the background of my everyday life as crossing guards, neighbors, friends, know strangers. I have seen these people all my life and I realize that they have lives just as complex as mine. A sort of sonder feeling hits me. I was down two blocks from my home and I pass a home that looked just like mine but all together completely different. I knew the people who lived here. I used to tutor the couples daughter who lived here. They were a big family. All these years I witnessed the couple have more children and buy a dog. I saw when their grandparents move in with them and I felt envy because I wished I could have the accessibility they had to their grandparents. Everytime I would pass their house from school, their grandma would be sitting out on the porch and she would wave at me. When I stopped walking to school I stopped seeing her but she would take daily walks so I found myself seeing her pass by my home on various occasions. It was normal. Every afternoon this old lady would pass by at a turtle’s pace. On the occasions that I ran in the her I would greet her but as we all know life is anything but stagnant. I noticed that she had stopped taking her daily walks as frequently and I later found out that she was sick. One afternoon I was having a conversations with my mother, the old lady came up and my mother informed me that she had cancer and that all the medication and treatment has caused her to be in so much pain that she recently decided to stop getting treatment.

    Despite this fact the old lady still took her walks but as I would see her I knew she must be in so much pain.

    For a time I forgot about her. She didn’t walk by my house. She didn’t even sit outside on the front porch anymore. This wasn’t a good sign I realized and I was right. Soon after that I heard that she had passed. I was so strange to her those words. That she was not on this earth anymore. That I would no longer see her walk pass my street. Death is so final and I think we sometimes forget that we are on borrowed time.Tomorrow isn’t promised and focusing a little reasons to be sad we should just enjoy what makes us happy.

  14. I didn’t know I’d end up on that beach when I first got on the bus, but as the bus made a stop by my old house, I felt a jolt in my chest that forced my legs up and out of my seat. Like a zombie functioning on pure instinct, I mindlessly exited the bus and suddenly found myself standing by my old street, encompassed by the familiar sound of the busy boulevard behind me. I don’t know why I’m here. I’m all by myself in a way I haven’t been in a while. I look at the cars behind me, racing up and down the street under the hot sun, and watch the faces in the windows whirl past me. I observe the traffic and feel the hot Sun turn my cheeks pink. I think about the countless hours of footage stored away in my head of sitting at this bus stop when I was eighteen and watching the cars pass by, waiting for the express bus to whisk me away into the circus known as Manhattan.
    I abandon this scene and start walking down towards the water, glancing at neighbors sitting on their stoops and porches, watching their children ride scooters down the one-way street and sharing mundane anecdotes amongst themselves. Dogs and cats — the watchers through the windows — stare at me as I pass by their respected houses, my water bottle bouncing up and down in the tote bag slung over my shoulder. As I make my way down that avenue and approach a tiny patch of trees that I used to know intimately, I allow myself to not engage in any sort of overly-conscious decision making. I just let my legs take me where they want to go and they want to go there. I wiggle my way between the trees as my feet follow a thin path, leading me towards the smell of saltwater and an array of washed up fish corpses. Leaves and branches I haven’t seen in years brush up against me. The sound of civilization and that safe, warm feeling of suburbia fade away as my sneakers hit dingy, Staten Island sand.
    I escape the mini jungle and step onto the beach, spotting a conveniently placed stump of sorts just a foot away from the water. I take a seat on it and drop my bag into the sand. I stare out at the grey water, sparkling under the eyes of the Sun, appearing almost blue. I turn my head towards an array of rocks to the right of me in the distance. They’re large, black, and covered with vibrantly green seaweed. I leave my stoop and walk over to them, bending down to see the tiny pebbles and specks cemented into each rock. I stand up and look back at the water, stretched out and vast, going nowhere and everywhere at once. It’s ugly, yes, but all the houses around this place are abandoned and tucked away, and I’m all alone with my senses and my thoughts, and the sky is endless and I feel like I’ve come home to something.

  15. Outside the sun is shining and calling my name. I walk downstairs and out of my building onto the streets of Riverdale. It’s a lovely place, I have been living here since April. I decide to walk forward, towards the above-ground train station. The streets are busy, some people with masks on and some with masks off. Cute dogs, babies in strollers, seniors waiting for the bus. As I walk I pass by one of the nicest-looking buildings I have ever seen in the Bronx, it honestly looks out of place. Across the street is the supermarket and the Alehouse we go to almost every weekend. There’s at least 3 bodegas on this very small section of the street but they each have their clientele. There’s the flower-shop where we get cacti for the apartment. The beauty salons where I never intend to go. I reach the steps of the train station but I rather walk around. If I go to the right, I’ll see residential buildings and one of the entrances to the park. If I go left, I’ll see a lot of businesses. I go left.
    There are really a lot of conveniences in this neighborhood. The further left I walk, I pass by the man who is always hanging by that one bench at any time of day. The bench is not even particularly nice. Moving along. Lots of teenagers in groups, probably coming to and from the park. Their fashions always puzzle me. I walk past more beauty salons that I will probably never go to, more restaurants that I do need to try with my fiancé. I see lots of ladies who seem to be running errands. I think I must be one of the few on a leisure walk. All of these places are right under the train tracks, people are getting their to-do list done around here. I usually take this route to the end of the block where the local gym resides. The next block is a clear visual break, back to mostly residential buildings. The gym is right next to my eye check-up place, where I got my new prescription glasses which make me kind of dizzy. I hope I get used to them soon.

    I do love walking outside when the weather is nice, I feel like the sun recharges my life battery.

    Melissa Ortiz

  16. It is early morning, around 5:45 AM on July 6th, 2021 as I walk outside my house with a leash in my left hand and a crazy German Shepherd on the opposite end of that leash. I am first dragged on to the front grass so the pup can empty out his tank. There is plenty of yard work happening so the miniature flies are quick to start their orbit around my head. I try swatting them away, but it is no use. They eventually go away as I make my way down the driveway. Its foggy outside and I can already feel the warmth of the wet air. I am for certain today will be scorching hot just by how humid it is already and little to my surprise, the weather app lets me know it will reach highs of 93. As I walk down the street, a couple is walking their dog. I am not sure what kind of dog it is, but it is small. As we get closer, I have Doby go into a down position so he knows I am in charge and even the slightest bark will not be tolerated. The couple and their dog by and Doby were on his best behavior. Doby and I make our way to a neighborhood dog park, and this is when I realize wearing slides was a bad idea since the grass is wet from the morning dew. On the upside, I can see the excitement in my pup’s face since he knows we’re in for a wild game of fetch.

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