“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.
I’m transitioning to another phase in life. My job as an interpreter at Old World Wisconsin is ending for the season. Working for minimum wage at a living history museum was one of the most awesome choices I’ve ever made. I decided to spend my time doing something that I found interesting and valuable instead of compromising my satisfaction to make a bigger paycheck. However, I want to do better. I want to do something even more significant and important with my time and energy, something more socially responsible, more environmentally responsible, more philosophically moral. I don’t know what that will turn out to be… yet. A blogger friend posted this Oprah quote and got me thinking: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” (Thanks, Susan from skedazzles!) I want to prepare myself for my next awesome choice and make sure that I am open and aware of opportunities. Something will undoubtedly fall into my lap. As I was talking to Steve about this, we were actually living an example. Here’s what happened…
Driving home from the grocery store, I noticed a black Labrador trotting down the street toward the park without an owner in sight. After I’d unpacked the groceries and made lunch, I heard a woman calling outside. I went out to ask if she was looking for a black dog. She was, and I told her where I’d seen it. About a half hour later, Steve and I went out to take a walk. The woman was still looking for the dog; she told us that it belonged to her niece who lives around the corner from us at a house with a “For Sale by Owner” sign. So we went walking in the direction of the park. We heard someone calling a dog down by the river and learned that another couple was looking for a German shepherd named Corky. We told them that there was also a lab named Drake on the loose. We resumed our walk. A little while later, it started raining, and we headed back toward home. We saw Corky’s folks turning their van into an adjacent park across the street. They called to us and told us they’d found the lab down by the bridge. They hadn’t found Corky yet, though. When we got to the bridge, there was Drake, secured to a post by a leash, presumably donated by Corky’s folks. So we untied him and walked him home. By then, it was pouring. About a block from home, a car was driving slowly down the street. I guessed it was the woman looking for Drake. She was incredibly excited and pleased to see us leading the dog homeward. Her niece was at work on her first day back from maternity leave and had asked her aunt to let the dog out at lunch. Now I imagine this young mother, worried about leaving her dog and baby and going back to work. I’m soaking wet, but loading the dog into auntie’s car, I felt awesome. I had been out in my neighborhood, just paying attention to my surroundings, and was able to help someone out. I wasn’t trying very hard at all, but I was open to events as they unfolded. It was a very satisfactory afternoon.