My Spy Route

and observations along the Alameda Drain

When I was nine-years-old, I read Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy. After I had finished the book, I wanted nothing more than to be Harriet. My recent re-reading of the book, however, left me with a sense of consternation.

How had I missed Harriet’s bad manners?

Harriet’s manners aren’t just a little bit bad, they are so bad that she sometimes puts other people in peril (as when she runs pell mell into the family cook), and somehow, I had missed it completely.

You never know what a reader is going to bring to a text.

The reader

The truth of readers is this: when they read your work, they bring their own baggage and dreams to the text, and my nine-year-old self did exactly that when I first read Harriet the Spy.

Despite what Harriet thought, it wasn’t really all about her, it was all about me, her reader.

When we are taught to write, we are told to “consider our audience,” but writers are seldom told to “think of the reader.” The reader, however, is a critical component of the writing experience. Without a reader, our musings are simply notes — in a notebook, in an electronic file, on a bathroom wall — without a reader to read, our writing is a list words.

Much of what I loved about Harriet the Spy was about me and what I wanted, not Harriet and what she wanted.

Harriet’s spy route

I had long envied Harriet’s spy route, and the ease with which she left the world of her home and found other, equally or even more compelling worlds to explore. It seemed that she was just steps away from a galaxy of adventures, each unlike the world of her home, her school, or her friends.

The Alameda Drain Trail

The City of Albuquerque has more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails and one of them runs right behind the house where I live, and twice a day, my dog Clooney and I walk along one of them, and it turns out that this walk along the Alameda Drain affords me the spy route I had wanted so badly when I was a child.

Clouds over the Sandias as see from the Alameda Drain Trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Clouds over the Sandias as see from the Alameda Drain Trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Clouds over the Sandias
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A hot air balloon landing at a nearby school
Half of a face painted on a utility box
Half of a face painted on a utility box
The always inscrutable woman
A big “clue”
A big “clue”
A big “clue”
Jasper, the dog who runs like the wind
Jasper, the dog who runs like the wind
Jasper, the dog who runs like the wind
A trumpet vine with orange blossoms that attracts hummingbirds
A trumpet vine with orange blossoms that attracts hummingbirds
A hummingbird oasis
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Image for post
Sparky the miniature horse
Summer the goat awaiting her morning leafy snack
Summer the goat awaiting her morning leafy snack
Summer the goat
The Alameda Drain at sunset
The Alameda Drain at sunset
The Alameda Drain at sunset

Written by

Crocheter on a mission to make the world a better place — one stitch at a time. Twitter: @crochetbug. Crochet blog: https://www.crochetbug.com

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