If you have been following my blog, my encounters with my lovely British lady have increased. In fact, yesterday morning I barely got outside of the radius of my immediate rancher when I ran into her and another neighbor with a similar dog. Both of them were owners of cute Lhasa Apso breeds, who obviously knew each other as they sniffed and nuzzled one another on the street (the dogs not the neighbors). Warm thoughts vibrated through my entire body as I could feel the true meaning of neighbors. The other individual had once worked at my same university and had transitioned to working at home and is now retired. In addition to learning quite a bit more about the proper tea, I learned more interesting facts about my British friend.
As we passed other neighbors, whom I had never met before because I was too busy working or preparing to go to work…or recuperating at home after work…we got invited to a block party in a slightly different portion of the neighborhood. Now to backtrack, when I arrived in the neighborhood 11 years ago our newly added road was the add-on to the neighborhood and we quickly met our immediate group of neighbors on my single street. I knew it was a terrific neighborhood from the start as I was greeted by a busy stay-at-home mother who brought me peach cobbler and others who were preparing for the annual block party (which I hosted the following year or so). I also enjoy the antics of my next door neighbor as she refers to the construction guy who is building her garage as "pool boy". Especially since there is no pool and he is actually building a garage! Unlike the busy metropolitan area where many of us formerly lived, we were all content to rotate to various houses to observe the view of the mountains over a glass of wine.
So, I have loved my neighborhood ever since! However, I now feel an even stronger sense of neighbors as I have the luxury to wander outside and join in on the casual sidewalk conversations at any point in the day or evening. I have learned that my husband is a popular figure as he routinely volunteers to plow about a half dozen older neighbors’ driveways each winter. I have noticed in the past that he is not alone in this activity as about six neighborhood men congregate in the middle of the street on various types of vehicles with plows on front. Yet, I have always observed this from the warmth of my home as I enjoyed the fruits of his labor from the homemade baked goods that accumulate to thank him for his kind deeds.
A hidden gem in my new virtual entrepreneur venture has been the gift of time and greater connectivity with my neighbors. I love to wake up early and head out to my back deck to plan my day and launch into some writing and technical work in solitude but routinely break for my morning exercise. I have gotten to know this cast of characters even more and feel that I am now really living my actual life. Funny. I have been so dedicated to my incoming students and academic work for twenty years that I did not even really realize that I seldom spent quality time with this wonderful group of neighbors.
I feel like I am now living a 70's show such as, "The Waltons". I must say it feels good. I feel calm and happy. My life is simple and I am living it on my own terms. I am thankful that I found the courage to forge ahead with my counseling business and have developed a well-rounded new lifestyle where I am continuing to educate myself on new things while enjoying the simple things in life. My only hope is that others will come to understand the beauty of how simplifying life can enhance their world. Oh, and as I glanced out into the early morning sky just now, I viewed the most amazing glimpse of a huge, twinkling, bright planet against the dark Autumn sky and the dim glow of my oldest neighbor’s kitchen light.