For the most part, the houses in our neighborhood are well maintained with trimmed lawns, newer roofs, and decorative landscapes. Every evening, as the summer heat yields to cooler temperatures, the mowers crank and the war against nature wages. On the weekends it's more of the same as gardens are weeded, hedges are hedged, and projects are tackled.
But like most streets without gates and guards, there is that one eyesore that stands out from the rest. There's no mower grumbling into the night, as the grass is usually somewhere between ankle and knee deep. Decorations from past holidays are strewn across the yard. I'm pretty sure the scarf in the tree belonged to last winter's snowman. The shutters are sun faded and crooked, spindles are broken and missing from the once decorative railing, and the front door could use a coat of paint, before being replaced. My wife has mentioned entering them to be on the HGTV show Curb Appeal, so you may see it for yourself pretty soon.
The house may not win any beauty awards, but as a neighbor, I’ve seen plenty of moments that make me look across the street and smile. Whether it’s when their daughter sings freely from the porch, serenading the evening with song. Or in the fall you can see the glow of a fire pit and hear the two younger boys squealing with delight. Sometimes grandma joins them on walks down the street, the boys roaming and skipping, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Ooh, look at the kitty cat! I find myself looking up as they point to a bird in the sky. They skip along, and wonder aloud, openly, about all things that pop into their creative heads. When it rains we can hear them in the yard, arms outstretched, drenched and dripping as they catch the drops with their tongues.
There’s no rushing, they seem content to let the time pass them, together, and I think it’s something special. While so many people get consumed with the hectic lives they’ve created for themselves, they really do stop and smell the roses. I mean hey, it’s not like they’re trimming them. But seriously, too often I find myself rushing from one errand to the next without thought or taking a second to appreciate what is going on around me.
Now I’m not going sell my lawn mower anytime soon, or walk past a Christmas wreath hanging on my door in mid-March. It’s just not my style. But I do want my son to stop and wonder sometimes without having to worry about being late for some event or that practice that we’ll all forget about when the next one comes along. I want my son to go on a walk with dad. I want him to point up to the sky. I want him to just wonder…