Streets that hug / by istudio

Around noon, the sun casts the smallest shadow from my feet onto the stone pavement. To my left, oversized trucks crowd the one-way road — to my right, walls are colored golden yellow, pale brown, and mature red. Hand-made doorknobs and dusty windows offer glimpses of life inside these houses. Where I walk, the house is separated by only the 30-centimeters of the walls. My fingertips can’t help but touch. My eyes trace the imperfect lines of these walls that border the sky.

I am embraced at each turn and slope of San Miguel streets.

Having been around the Virginian suburbs and gone to university in the Appalachians, the density of urban communities often receive a negative connotation: tall towers and their long shadows, constant traffic and noise, not enough space. Many have sought out for space by extending into more space — setbacks and front yards connected by miles of asphalt.

Compared to San Miguel, I wonder if there is a cityscape that was as unfamiliar to me. Yet — where once an old woman greeted me and once a young businessman asked me about my home — on these streets I felt a sense of belonging.