Thursday, May 04, 2006

Who are the People in your Neighborhood?

In an effort to both use up some of their boundless energy and kill some time between dinnertime and bedtime, I have been taking the kiddies for a walk around the neighborhood the past few evenings. Little did I know, it was a really introspective experience. We have lived in our current neighborhood for nearly 5 years (moved in just before the girl-child was born) and, I am sorry to say, we have been rather reclusive. I have chatted a little with one of my neighbors, but probably because she makes the effort. There are two or three neighbors on my little cul-de-sac street that I have never seen or talked to aside from waving when we drive by.

In the past three evenings, we have canvassed probably three-quarters of our neighborhood, and I have seen many things I have never seen before--even though I have probably driven by zillions of times. Down a side street (where I know I haven't driven by), an older woman weeds her beautiful garden. I have seen her out two of the last three evenings. Her little garden is gorgeous and she says "Wait until it blooms!" There are some homes that have beautiful landscaping, one with a little outdoor fountain, one with little flower-boxes that sit on the deck railings. Off another side street, I discovered a beautiful view of a little slope looking down on the nearby forest.

Some of the homes are a little more run-down. On the street with the beautiful view, a home there had a broken window and holes in the skirting (we live in a manufactured home community.) I wondered if the resident did not have enough money to fix these problems or simply did not care. I wondered about the people in all of these homes. People that I have lived nearby for so many years (for me, living in one place for five years is quite a long time!) yet have never even seen or talked to. I feel kind of small and lonely, yet hopeful. I wonder who else I will meet as my children and I continue to explore.

When I was a child, my family rarely interacted with their neighbors. I wonder why that was. Did my mom and dad grow up that way? Is it handed down generation to generation? It's not unfriendliness- maybe it's just being solitary. Doing your own thing, living your own little world and not looking outside of it. I hear stories from my husband and my mother-in-law how the neighhborhood kids were always in and out of their house all day long, and they often had other kids over for dinner. I would like to live that way. I would like to know my neighbor's name, the names of their kids, to feel comfortable enough to run over and borrow a cup of sugar or an egg if needed.


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