I've been walking my town for 30 years. Fortuna enbodies small town: the charm, the history, the insular suspicion of people who chose to live elsewhere, the quirky festivals, the interconnectedness of the citizenry, the volunteer spirit, the small-mindedness.
My walk today begins with the swing of my gate, the musical jangle of the windchimes on our gate that act as a doorbell. It's easy not to notice the first few blocks. The once-palatial Victorians have been converted to family homes, split into apartments, or converted into churches. Here the pavement is wet though there hasn't been any rain for a few days. Springs under the town come up in lawns, through cracks in the sidewalk, weep out of hillsides.
I begin to zig through blocks. Although downtown Fortuna uses a gridwork of lettered and numbered streets, no effort was made to make the streets particulary straight. O Street and P Street stop and start and connect with their numbered brethren in an irregular fashion, but I make my way south. The brown church sounds like thunder as the intermural basketball teams practice inside their combination cafeteria/gymnasium. The little Craftsman house with the dense hedge of tiny pink roses, the moss growing on the pavement on that mostly unused street, the Victorian shingled with unfinished redwood, I find myself on 12th Street.