I’m ashamed to say that, as the years have rolled by, I haven’t taken the time to walk around my neighborhood. Sure, I’m out and about all the time but always in the car to my way out of the neighborhood.
One reason is that life simply goes by a lot faster than we think and the business of life often causes us to forget the simple things – like what’s outside our doors besides the car.
Another reason, and probably the biggest, is that I don’t love my neighborhood anymore. I’m referring to the surroundings, not the people I know (although as a nonsocial person I actually know very few people in the sense of knowing their names, what they do, their family members, etc.). My street is off a busy thoroughfare that used to come to an end at a forest; you had to turn left or right. That forest was right across the street from my house. Now it’s gone and it’s a long circular drive that leads to a complex of federal buildings. Even that used to be somewhat nice (not as nice as a forest, of course). We would walk the dogs around the circle which was lined with bushes and trees, some flowering. At the top of the circle there was a landscaped area that always had nice, seasonal flowers and shrubs coming up all year round. It made for a very nice walk. Now even that has been destroyed by ongoing construction and, worst of all, trash; so much trash. Some has been dumped by the bus drivers that wait there (I’ve seen them). Some has been dumped by the people getting on and off the buses (I’ve seen them). It’s a disgrace. There is no more beauty.
Now, when we go for a walk, we tend to drive 20 minutes to a beautiful, picturesque lake with trails and wildlife and forest. I love that walk and we do it often but it has certainly contributed to my being totally out of touch with my own neighborhood.
So today, tired of fighting off the crazy coming from being under a stay-home order, I decided I just had to get out and walk. I took a half-hour walk around my neighborhood. It started at the trash-filled circle, a very depressing way to start a mind-clearing walk. I still feel pain in my heart from the sight and I miss those days of walking the dog and taking in the beauty of the trees and shrubs and bees and butterflies.
As I continued on, though, I came across this.
Some very artistic children (I’m assuming) created this lovely, colorful artwork and I couldn’t help but think they must have been trying to make me and everyone else just feel better. It certainly worked on me. Thank you, thoughtful artists!
At one point, I saw a man walking across one of the wider, busier streets. We glanced at each other and waved. I yelled, “I just wanted to say hi to someone!” He answered, looking very friendly and happy, smiling and waving, and although I couldn’t hear what he said over the traffic that passed at the moment, I knew we had made a neighborly connection and, at least for a moment, rescued each other from the grimness of these desolate days of the pandemic.
Then I came upon this beautiful tree. I was so thankful to Spring for continuing on with her work despite our current circumstances. I wanted to take more pictures of it but I heard the deep bark of what sounded like an enormous dog and since I couldn’t figure out where the sound was coming from, I decided to move on.
As I approached the last couple of streets of my walk, the sun came out. When I’d started it was gray and a little breezy, though I appreciated the chill (it was nice to feel something; I hadn’t realized I’d become numb). But now the sun came full out and the air warmed immediately. There was a huge conglomeration of ominous, dark clouds behind me but I turned away from those to head home. I am not missing the symbolism.
I was glad I went out. A walk can do wonders to lift the mood and soothe the soul.