Friday, December 12, 2008


We have an ice storm going on at the moment. As I look outside in the twinkling bright of one streetlight, the trees and bushes, the brush and wires are coated with about an inch of ice. The prediction is for more over night.

I live in small rural community. My road is what you would call a “dead end”. I’ve always disliked that term and would prefer “no outlet”, but preferences and rules always have a conflict with rules winning out. Anyway, my “dead end” is a microcosm of age and cultures.

At the start of my road is a boarding house for transient folks who come and go as needed. Some of my neighbors with little kids don’t like it and I understand their concern, but community is just that: a community of people living in the same vicinity each trying to survive as best they can.

We are not a tribe where mutual trust is the rule. We are a collection of unrelated people who happen to be living in proximity at the same time for the same purpose. Life!

If you travel the world you would witness much more of this type of living than you do in the United States. In Malaysia I saw mansions side by side to shacks. It is what it is.

As you move up my road, the ten or so houses become more individualized, single family and distinct. There are one-story homes with a couple of bedrooms and more outside play space than you’d find exponentially inside. The maximum abode would be two stories and that would also include a utilized or finished basement and a small attic storage space.

What is delightfully more important is the age of the residents. The oldest family couple on the street are in their nineties and the youngest family unit is just out of their twenties with all generations in between including toddlers, teenagers and grade-school children.

What is seemingly unique to this neighborhood, based upon my experience of living in many other places is that, apart from the transient rooming house, we each know the other's name and we each look out for the other.

We have illness and infirmity close by. We have the young with babies and the elderly with problems. We have all spectrums of income and all political ideals. We rarely socialize, but we talk with each other and our commonalty is concern for the other. I’m not sure you can find that in a lot of places, but it flourishes here.

The icy mix continues outside and I am thankful for this place.

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