I live in what is called the “Queen of the St. Louis suburbs,” the city of Kirkwood, population 27,540. Kirkwood is the oldest planned suburb west of the Mississippi River, founded in 1853 and named after the engineer who built the railroad west from St. Louis. James Pugh Kirkwood isn’t buried here; he made his fortune and returned to New York, his home state. But we still have the train station, and it still functions as one, serving the Amtrak line from St. Louis to Kansas City.
I live in the northeast quadrant of the town; the city center is 1.1 miles from my house. In nice weather, which we have generally not had this winter, I can walk to the library, the YMCA, the downtown business district, the farmer’s market, and the train station in under 20 minutes. For three years, I had an office in downtown Kirkwood, and truly does seem like you’re living and working in a small town.
Kirkwood is a walking kind of city. When I take walks, I think about writers and poets known for their walking, like Charles Dickens (up to 20 miles a day) and the Romantic poets, or the 17th century poet Thomas Traherne, whose poem “Walking” is one of the best known of the poems about the subject.
On Saturday, I managed to slip a walk in between winter storms (the temperature actually reached in the 40s before the next storm hit Saturday night).
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph: Kirkwood Train Station, via Wikipedia.