Friday, May 28, 2010

Local wonder

A few nights ago I went for a walk around my neighborhood. I like where I live; it's a multi-cultural, multi-class kind of place, largely residential with a small downtown. Kids play on my street. I smile at my neighbors. But I don't go walking as often as I might. My life is busy, so I usually drive. Just like most of you.

I decided to walk because it was a beautiful night; because I am achingly aware of oil consumption these days; because I wanted to stretch my legs; because I wanted to feel alive and in my body. I decided I'd take myself out to dinner in our little downtown, about a mile-and-a-half away, and I would walk.

In that walk, I met wonders.

I walked by houses where people were cooking dinner. I smelled curry, hamburgers, pasta, rich spices I couldn't identify. I walked by homes where dinner was a communal event around a table, others where dinner was eaten by flickering tv-light. I heard a ringing hammer, a late night project coming to completion in the warm night. The air was thick on my skin, encouraging me not to hurry.

A dad and his kid were hitting a ball. The kid missed and the ball rolled out into the street, then towards me. I picked it up and tossed it back; the dad thanked me and commented on the beauty of the evening in a Boston-accent so thick he could have been sent from Central Casting. His hand ruffled his son's hair.

A little farther on and I met another neighbor who collects vintage neon. We talked about passionate collecting, art, kids, politics, family, life, all in the span of ten minutes. Her hospitality and kindness reminded me of another time, then made me think that no, she was of this time, this moment, just not what we are taught to expect. Hospitality and kindness surround us in our own neighborhoods if we look for it.

At the restaurant, after chatting in my walk with other neighbors in the long light of evening, I settled in expecting a peaceful meal at the bar. Soon I was accompanied by a funny man, telling me stories, jokes, and speaking with tremendous pride of his son. We gave each other tastes of luscious morself from our own plates. In the hour of our meal we became old friends. And when I stepped outside to walk home, a full moon accompanied me turning the world quiet, silver.

I tell stories of worlds populated with unexpected marvels - a debt collector who accompanies us after death or Eve speaking in her own voice - but truly, we live in a world of wonder. For all that the breadth of the human imagination is astonishing, when we open ourselves to the gifts of the world we have endless opportunity to be amazed at its generosity.

(c)2010 Laura S. Packer

image courtesy of Ridwan Chandra

Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. A little envious. I live in a strictly residential neighborhood, but there's not a lot of diversity. I like the area (sooo quiet!) but yours seems more intriguing!


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