web of neighbors in time of pain

Friday, July 20, 2012

I live in a neighborhood few choose ever to leave.  They arrive as young families and they stay.  Long before we arrived, nearly two decades ago, community abounded here, long memories of shared picnics, block parties, baseball games, horse show extravaganzas.  The houses, by and large, are small.  The spaces in between are slender.  When someone is baking cookies we can smell the sugar crisp. When a car is away too long or a cat strays uncomfortably far, we notice.  When we take walks, and almost every day I take a walk, we aren't just using our muscles and our lungs.  We are stopping to say hello, to get the news.  Every generation lives here, and together we live companionably, as family.

Yesterday afternoon there was a familiar rapping on my front door, and when I turned the corner from my office I found my beloved neighbor Jane.  She is a teacher, a mother, a reader, a woman of whom I have written here, someone I've written into books.  She is so lovely, but her face was sad, and I sensed at once that off, wrong thing.

Terribly wrong. For one of the most dashing, funny, lovable, quietly triumphant among us is in great pain.  It broke my heart—it breaks all of our hearts—to learn this.

I took a walk after I heard the news.  Out in the streets, the neighbors were scheming—what could they do, what could be offered, how can the strength of us all, netted together, become strength for one in pain?

Do you know how it is when something is unbearably sad and heartbreakingly beautiful at the very same moment in time?

That is us here now, where I live.

And this must be all of us, in the wake of the news from Colorado.  


Serena said...

This is terrible news....I have good friends who live in CO, and I have not heard from them as yet, but I'm hoping that they are well. Too scary. I miss communities that come together in a time of pain and tragedy.

patti.mallett_pp said...

What a wonderful place you live. We moved quite often, but each transfer brought special people into our lives.

Sadness is made bearable in the sharing. And goodness always pushes its way to the surface in times of tragedy. We must attach our hearts to that.

Lilian Nattel said...

It sounds like my neighbourhood. And the sadness and pain--sharing it makes it more tolerable. Can turn it.

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