During my childhood I never lived in a town. We never had a street address. While our house did have windows what we saw through them was nature in all its glories. We never saw people except on the rare occasions when we had visitors. I'm an adult now and I work from home. The isolation or seclusion feels familiar and comfortable. There's a big difference, though, between the isolation of my youth and my current because I work from home isolation. We live on a street and our living room and dining room windows look out on that street. Just about every morning I drink my coffee on the living room couch looking at our street. Life pretty much progresses though that window. I've seen deer in our front yard. I've watched blizzards drop mountains of snow. Almost every morning people walk their dogs. And for the last four years I've watched the children of our next door neighbors grow and gain independence. When we first moved here only the little boy went to school. Every morning his mother walked him to the school bus which picked him up on a nearby corner. His little sister got pushed in a stroller. Sometimes they were all bundled up and other times they wore less constricting clothing. And suddenly before I knew it both children were getting on the school bus still walked to the corner by their mother. Lately the mother has been walking several yards behind the siblings. Clearly there's an understanding of an increased need for independence. Once when the sister did not go to school the mother only walked part way to the bus. Then all of a sudden she started running toward it, shouting and waving her arms. The little boy, possibly, had asked or informed that he would get off the bus by himself. He then became confused and wandered into the middle of the street. Luckily our street isn't busy and no passing cars came even close to being a danger. However, when she got to him and hustled him out of the street and onto the sidewalk they hugged and comforted each other and finally, still embracing, walked back down the street to their home. I watch dogs on leashes grow from puppy to middle age, from out of control to greater obedience. I think I'm lucky for a work schedule that allows me time to watch through my window life progress and pass. And maybe someday I'll find out the names of the family living next door to me.
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The paths we choose
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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead