Thursday, May 14, 2009
Like Riding Through A Ghost Town...
Wednesday, I had to go to VA for my monthly blood test.
I like to leave about 11:30 or 12:00 in order to beat the traffic. It's just at 20 miles one way, and although most of the trip is on the toll road, I do have to go through several neighborhoods to get to the Beltway.
As I was driving down the streets, I started really looking at all the houses and their yards...I mean really looking! There was no one around. No one at all!
In the two neighborhoods closest to where I live, the only people I ever saw in the front yards were the lawn guys. They were there with their mowers and trimmers and leaf blowers, doing everything they could to make all the empty front lawns pretty.
Imagine, all those empty lawns just sitting there pretty much looking like the lawn next door. Occasionally, there would be a lawn where someone had decided to dress up a bit with flowers and shrubs just as though the owner was voicing some discontent with looking just like everyone else! Imagine that...a real live individual! Well, almost!
What was missing? Mainly, the kids and signs of kids were missing! No toys, no swing sets, no wagons or bikes or kick balls or basketballs or anything like that! Just grass. Trimmed and watered and looking all pretty just like the neighbors grass, but no life! The whole neighborhood could have just been a movie set, with card board houses and artificial grass. It was as if all the people had packed up and left, ya know?
From the time I was a kid, the front yards were centers of activity, especially for kids. In fact, my house was on a corner lot in one neighborhood. We had two china berry trees in the yard, and we took full advantage of those two trees. We climbed them, used the broken limbs for other toys like guns and swords, used the berries themselves as throwing weapons, missiles hard enough to sting but not injure.
Our yard was played in, not just by us, but all our friends in the neighborhood as well. There were paths worn in it to the garden hose, to the front porch, and to the trees. It wasn't all that big, but it looked bigger than the neighbors yard because it had life! It had soul! It had kids, for goodness sake! Complete with all the trappings of kids playing outside! Even if we were somewhere else, you could tell that kids lived there.
The one thing that our yard didn't have much of, was grass! I remember once someone asked my Dad why he didn't plant some grass in the yard and have us play somewhere else, Dad answered "There will be plenty of time for grass and a pretty yard when the kids are gone. Right now, what matters the most is that they are enjoying the yard and their home...and that the most important thing to me!" Did I mention that both my parents knew what was really important?
If nothing else, I should get my neighbors to let me put in a garden in all those empty yards. Think of all the food I could grow in just two or three more yards! Man, I could feed a small army!
Oh, wait! I forgot one thing...the yard wouldn't look just like the next door neighbor's yard. It wouldn't be just sitting there, all watered and trimmed and pretty. It wouldn't look like an artificial, movie set neighborhood yard anymore...it would look different, it would have a look of life! What a monumental waste!
Well, why don't we get some fresh coffee and sit on the patio for a bit. We can watch the birds at the feeder and then at the bird bath, having a good time. If we get bored with that, we can always just sit here and watch the garden grow. Great way to spend the morning...!