Around the Neighborhood


I can see how I could write a bold account of myself as a passionate man who rose from humble beginnings to cut a wide swath in the world, whose crimes along the way might be written off to extravagance and love and art, and could even almost believe some of it myself on certain days after the sun went down if I’d had a snort or two and was in Los Angeles and it was February and I was twenty-four, but I find a truer account in the Herald-Star, where it says: “Mr. Gary Keillor visited at the home of Al and Florence Crandall on Monday and after lunch returned to St. Paul, where he is currently employed in the radio show business… Lunch was fried chicken with gravy and creamed peas”.

― Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days


I was thinking today about all the years I spent fervently wishing that someday I would move to Arizona, live under the hot desert sun and those blistering blue skies, and never have to pass another cold, dull, gray winter in Pennsylvania. I’d spent three vacations in Arizona and loved it each and every time I went, even when the temperature was 105 degrees in early May. But in the past year or so, I’ve had a change of heart — one that is pretty much a reversal of what I felt before. I feel so lucky now to live in a neighborhood that has lots of open space — there is a horse farm tucked into our development, and a wide park that borders it, too — as well as neighbors who are kind and who watch out for each other. There is no heavy traffic to deal with, there is not a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality here, and yet we are only fifteen minutes away from our cute college town, with its buzz of students and activities that come courtesy of a thriving university environment.

And when I walked around my neighborhood today, snapping these photos of my neighbor’s muddy horses, the bare trees in the park, the mostly abandoned farmhouse up the road with the beautifully weathered wooden door, there wasn’t a break in the clouds at all, but I didn’t mind. When the sun comes out again, I’ll be happy — and I probably will want to visit Arizona or New Mexico again at some point, because my wanderlust hasn’t vanished. It’s just that I finally looked around and realized that I could love the place where I am now for a very long time, and that’s a great feeling.