Art · art with story

The Secret Alley

The Secret Alley | 2022 | Watercolor, gouache, color pencil, pencil, and crayon on paper | 9.4 x 7.4 in ( 24 x 19 cm )

Around 8a.m, my phone automatically starts one of my favorite Korean radio shows. Then, I start my morning walk with my dog, Dingo. I love late-night Korean radio shows. Most DJs have soft voices and play calmer music to enchant the night. I used to be a night owl when I was a teenager. When I finished school, I became a morning person to be more productive. So I couldn’t listen to the radio shows at night in Korea and Japan, where I lived for a few years. Now, because of the time difference, I can listen to shows in the morning and start my day with relaxing music. I have several routes for my morning walk, depending on the distance. Usually, I walk the two mile-route, but when I’m extra tired, I take the shortest round, which covers about a mile. And I push myself to walk for 3 miles when I feel extra good.   

Sometimes, when my husband is not so busy in the morning, he walks with us. Walking all three of us together fills the whole sidewalk. It often gets uncomfortable yet nice. My husband is more talkative than I am, especially nowadays. I don’t talk unless necessary because it makes me tired faster. So usually, I just listen to him talking about different topics. If it’s not relevant to me, I nod or make a sound to let him know I’m listening. When some subjects I’m also passionate about come up, I start talking too, and good discussions begin. One of my favorite things to do with my husband is go for a drive. A road trip is my ultimate favorite vacation. Like other couples, we listen to good music and enjoy the scenery, but the main reason why I like to be in the car with him is we talk a lot. Because of my circumstances, we can’t go on a long road trip now. But walking is as good as driving. One morning, he joined our walk. It was a quiet morning. We barely met anybody on the street. It felt like the whole town was silenced except us. At that time, I had just discovered the 3mile route, so I brought him to the new path. He liked to see all the new houses and the environment. We talked about how different each house is and what we want when we have our own house someday.

At the end of the route, the same as the starting point, we saw a person come out between two houses. My husband got curious. He wanted to check it out. It was just a cross the road, but I refused it because the 3-mile walk was the limit for my energy. All I could think about was sitting down. My husband said it’s like a new adventure! Isn’t it exciting? He looked so eager to find out what that place could be. I agreed. We crossed the road and carefully entered where the man came out. There was a small alley probably linking to another community in my neighborhood. Because I was too tired, it was the end of our adventure.

After that day, I had a difficult time after a procedure. I couldn’t walk for a while and slowly increased the distance again. I started with a mile and then two. The two miles route has hills, and my right leg is not liking going up hills anymore. It used to be challenging already, but now I have to stop constantly. I needed a new route. One morning, I remembered the small alley my husband and I had discovered. I decided to check it out more. I slowly walked in. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t want to be in someone’s backyard or something accidentally. It took a while to be out of the alley because Dingo was excited about the new smells. I was in the middle of a small community when we finally stepped out. The vibe was completely different from other sections of my neighborhood. It was neat and well-decorated. The atmosphere was so quiet my radio sound got louder. Since I’d never been in the place before, I had to check the map to know which direction I needed to go. I wish I could just take a side and start exploring, but I can’t waste my energy just in case I might malfunction in the middle of the road. I started walking in the direction of my original route. And about a few blocks later, I saw a familiar road ahead. I turned before I met the road. I basically followed my regular path in a smaller circle. Also, it didn’t have hills, so I could walk better and still reach my goal! So after this delightful discovery, this new route from the secret alley became my regular walking path. Every time I go into this hidden pathway, I feel like I’m entering some magical place.

Lately, I’ve been feeling better and better. It helps me enjoy my somewhat stagnant days more. I love to see the season changing; even the sun feels different every day. I’m excited about my new days and what I might encounter each day. You can make your life a bit more delightful in almost any situation. But to do that, you must have an eye for surprises. I’m so glad my husband wanted us to check the alley out. It gave me a new wonderful gift in my mundane life. If you keep your curious eyes pilled, one day, an ordinary lemon hands you lemonade. When that happens, all you need to do is drink it and enjoy the moment. I’m happy to think about sharing these moments with you all. I’ve been finally forming a routine that could allow me to create and write more. Hopefully, I can post more regularly and invite others to reflect on their life’s gifts. Today, from my painting and story, I hope you can find your secret alley in your life and enter a magical place.

Dear readers,
I was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and am undergoing active treatment now. Unfortunately, my husband and I recently got into a financial crisis, including losing our insurance for my treatment. So I’m kindly asking for a donation if you enjoy my blog. Any small kindness will help us a lot.
Thank you so much.


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