Long ago my uncle lived in Daegu, Korea, and I have
memories of visiting the city a number of times with my
family as a child some thirty or forty years ago.
With unpaved roads, Daegu was the sort of city where
muddy puddles would form here and there whenever it
rained. Today it has rows of high-rises and giant apartment
buildings, but even in one of Korea’s biggest cities
you can still find alleys reminiscent of the past.
Alleys invite a vague feeling of nostalgia. You turn off
a main street and all of the sudden the city of today is
transformed into a neighborhood from long ago.
Gates and walls that press in close bring a sense of
excitement about what might lie beyond the twists and
turns up ahead, and the uneasy feeling that once you
have gone in you might find it impossible to get out.
Alleys, too, sometimes knock on the doors of peoples’
hearts. When people pass on a narrow path, one must
cede the way to the other—even more so if they happen
to be holding umbrellas. In close proximity, people naturally
share nods of recognition. It is said that greetings
open the doors to the heart, and so do alleys.
Why not step in off the main streets and try walking
* English Translation: Hart Larrabee