Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lingering Fall Days.

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Often I sit on Mother Theresa Boulevard — the sheshi (the square), the locals call it.  It is a wide pedestrian lane, paved with smooth cement blocks, and almost always full of people walking from one end to the other.  Stands along the sides sell freshly fried doughnuts and roasted chestnuts; the scents of both waft in the air, beckoning people to buy them.  A Roma boy sits, his bare skin separated from the cold ground by his thin cotton trousers and a sheet of damp cardboard, playing a drum; the sweet rhythm is comforting and steady amid the thick sea of people walking on the sheshi.  I stoop and drop a euro into his basket, grateful for his music.  The wind blows dried brown leaves across the pavement, a display of the changing season and the full farewell to autumn.  Recently, the city fixed the sheshi up.  It's longer now, stretching all the way from the Grand Hotel to Haradinaj Street. A bronze statue of Ibrahim Rugova, a treasured former president, now stands tall and protectively over Mother Theresa Boulevard.  The days are getting colder, so soon the new water fountains will be emptied and the play space they make will be empty of children.  Snow will fall.  But for now, the bitter taste of coffee and a blanket at the outdoor cafe warm me enough to linger out here in fall a little longer.  

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