Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Found in the Neighborhood

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you!
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please?
Please won’t you be my neighbor?”
– Fred McFeely Rogers

On October 22, I took a walk out the front door of the house in California where I lived in as a high school student. It’s a neighborhood that I haven’t seen much of in 40 years, and it’s pretty exotic to me. It’s changed a lot from what I remember. Some of the changes are quite jarring: new streets, new buildings, new power lines, fewer trees, and formerly pristine mountain slopes dotted with new construction. There are a lot of new neighborhood sights to get used to.

As I headed up into the foothills, I found wilder neighbors. Black-tailed deer are not quite what I’m used to. In Wisconsin, where I lived for the past 9 years, it’s white-tailed deer that you see everywhere.

When I got to the top of the hill, I looked back down into the valley and saw this view of Santa Clara County, with the tall buildings of downtown San Jose in the distance. There are close to two million people living down there!

This is actually the 33rd wealthiest town in the nation. There are a lot of people with high-end tech jobs, high-end tech toys, and high-end recreational hobbies. Heading back down the hill into town, I went past the church where I was married, where my sister, my husband, and my father are buried in the garden Columbarium. As it turned out, my mother passed away in her apartment down the street from the church that very evening. Her ashes will be buried in the garden on Friday. 

So what is a neighborhood, and who is my neighbor?

We all share the same air, the same water, the same soil, the same sunshine. Whether we feel seen, known, memorialized or not, we live and die here in proximity with every other Earthling, human and otherwise. We are all in relationship with each other. We are neighbors. As such, we should treat one another with kindness and care, check in, and keep in touch. It’s just neighborly.

Thank you to Ann-Christine, who is our host this week for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. 

24 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Found in the Neighborhood

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, Priscilla. Your visit is a beautiful one, and so are all your neighbors. A thoughtful and thankful post as always. The deer look sweet, and the last photo tells a story of its own. I don’t recognise the lyrics though – but they are beautiful too. Hope you will have a peaceful Sunday.

    • The lyrics are the theme song of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a children’s TV show that ran from 1968 – 2001. Fred Rogers was a pioneering childhood educator who was very astute about emotional intelligence. The last photo is of my sister, in the turban, receiving a gift on her birthday in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I wish you a peaceful and beautiful Sunday as well. Perhaps we will both be thinking of our mothers and their peaceful rest. ❤

      • Yes – I believe we will think of our mothers. I will light a candle for mother. Everyday I light a candle at home too for her.

  2. It is so hard to loose a mother and I remember when my mother died (may dad had passed 10 years before) I felt like an orphan even though I was in my late 50s. May you feel the warmth of caring friends and comforting memories as you move forward in your grief. What a wonderful story of going home to guide your mother home.

  3. I so agree with Pat’s comment. I was 50 when my mother passed away at age 70. I too felt like an orphan, and that my last fallback position had been removed (even tho I hadn’t ever needed one it was good to know she was always there). My thoughts and sympathies are with you Priscilla (and Ann-Christine)

    • Thanks, Tina. It definitely feels like the end of an era. The way she operated, the way the family was ordered, her particular magic – has all passed with her. Let’s just hope that the next iteration is imbued with as solid values in a new expression.

  4. I’m sorry to read about the loss of your mother on top of all those other, earlier losses. That bird of paradise shot is particularly beautiful. Our daughter lives in Pasadena and there are many of them growing there. I admire anyone who can use a unicycle and Mr. Rogers? What a wonderful man! We met him once at a wedding and he was just as nice in person as on TV.


    • Thanks, Michael. Yes, it does feel like time and space is layered here rather than linear. I’m not sure where I am in any one moment because I’m most likely in several moments at once.

  5. Priscilla, grief and being in multiple moments of time seem to go together. Time gets unhinged. Friends and nature sometimes help to ground us a bit. Anyway, I am thinking of you in this strange time.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss, Priscilla.
    “We all share the same air, the same water, the same soil, the same sunshine…” Wise words. Thank you for reminding us.

  7. Condolences. Excellent series. LOVE that Bird of Paradise. No one quite like Mr. Rogers. I happened to see both the tv documentary and the Tom Hanks movie portrayal. Both very informative. A fine man.

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