This Neighborhood.

I'm back in my old neighborhood, the place where I grew up and lived the better part of my life.  My daughter was watching a cartoon with my mother, my son was rocking to sleep with his dad.  Everyone was taken care of, so I used the opportunity to take a walk to the lake and watch the sun set.

The neighborhood is beautiful and simple.  Humble Cape Cods and ranch homes line the streets where well-tended lawns seem to glisten.  Cars parked along the street are unlocked, their windows are down.  There are no sidewalks, but you can walk in the streets with no worry.  It's a quiet neighborhood, a slow neighborhood.

Down at the lake, I sit at a bench.  Long grasses flow in the breeze before me, and the sun glows like a golden lamp in the sky.  The lake moves gently and constantly, reflecting the light like drops of golden oil floating on the surface.  I am a alone, but there are other people watching the sun.  Everyone is content to sit in silence, to simply watch the earth slowly turn and welcome the evening.  I am sure that my blood nourished a mosquito or two, but they take very little and I have much to share.

Soon, the black trees of Presque Isle in the distance swallowed the sun, and following it, a slow exodus of people.  Some walked away.  Some rode their bikes up the steep hill.  Others hopped back into their cars, to drive to some other neighborhood not quite as blessed as this one to have such an unfettered view.

A purple tulip shoots proudly among a small garden of yellow and pink flowers; a robin with her beak full of worms bobs her head into the dirt for another.  Lights start to come on in living room windows.  A man stands in his garage with a beer, talking to a friend out of my view.

It is a safe neighborhood, a peaceful neighborhood.  A neighborhood of working families proud of their homes.  Some yards are full of decorations with no worry of vandalism or theft.  People walk the streets after dark.  As I head home, two young boys are playing a simple game of basketball in the park.  One stops and waves at me, and happily says "Hello."  I wave back with a smile.  They are quiet, respectful.

Soon, I come back up to the house where I grew up.  It looks like the other homes around it, but different.  The front yard is littered with white petals delicately fallen from small flowering trees; a lilac bush peeking around the side of the house sends a sweet smell through the air.  I will never see this house as anything other than my home.  This neighborhood will always be the ideal in my mind.

Who can blame me?

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"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts." - Buddha