Take the Alley

Posted on
Opening to an alleyway in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

Morning walks have been one of my reprieves from our typically long work days editing and arranging events surrounding the Final Straw documentary here in Seoul.

These walks are generally the more peaceful, meditative moments, as I walk alone, moving off the busy streets into an old neighborhood, or a mountainside path overlooking the city. I think they are well worth sharing, and hope that you all can each find the time to ‘take the alley’ in your own way during the busy daily lives we’re all engaged in.

The clamoring, clattering, mind-rattling city streets are invigorating for a spell, but the constant race wears on even the most hearty soul. So I dip down the alley, every now and then…

Opening to an alleyway in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Opening to an alleyway in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Man walks down an alley in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Man walks down an alley in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

Only a block or two from the main street, here your footsteps are the loudest sound. They echo off of the closely packed walls of old homes who have seen their share of just about everything, and who stand confident and proud on account of it.

Morning alley walk in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Morning alley walk in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

In these alleys, the rumble of cars whizzing by is replaced by the sound of human life, the murmurs of old men, the tea kettle whistling, the wind whipping up under a metal sign which is loosely nailed to the wall; clank, clank, clank.

Simple details come into focus, as the mind ceases to grind like a factory it starts instead to flow freely and easily. Clarity is in this alley.

Buildings in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Buildings in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

Although the buildings here stand still — I’d be afraid I was in California if they were moving — they dance with these details, stacked neatly on top of each other as bricks and tiles meet wood, and wires gently sway above the pipes and shingles.

Tiled wall in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Tiled wall in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Musical wall in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Musical wall in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

From a technical planning view — or from Google Maps — it might seem the buildings were suffocatingly close, but it’s not so standing amidst them.

This neighborhood is light, airy, and warm — an amazing contrast to the busy open spaces of the city center, lined with towering buildings that block out all but the late evening light.

Here, the sun glows, reflects, and radiates.

Morning alley walk in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Morning alley walk in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

Well… back on to the main street, and back to work.

See you next time!

Main street in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)
Main street in the Pirun-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea (photo: P.M. Lydon | 2013)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.