Turn on the television to watch 7 minutes of the local news. Pick up a news paper, scroll the feed and you see it. Turn on the radio, read a tweet and it is there. Listen at the water cooler or in line at Starbucks the chatter fills your ears. It is at the line at the grocery store and at the drive though window.
I have been thinking about my childhood a lot lately. The stories roll over and over in my brain as if I am reliving them in full color. The details can be so intimate I feel like I am right there in the moment. The littlest events trigger the memories. I might see a particular toy, eat a food, see kids doing something and it reminds me of those days.
The other night the sky was clear as the crisp fall air surrounded me. The smell of wet leaves crunching under foot was like music. The trees barren prepared to be silent for the long cold winter. I experienced this familiar moment as I was walking in a neighbor trailed together with sidewalks while on a business trip. The light created a shadow on the ground, outlining the branches on the trees as if they were talking to me. The sound was so familiar. The drone of a buzzing noise the same you hear when the fluorescent light is buzzing in the classroom right before the maintenance man interrupts class. The buzzing was ringing louder and louder as I approached the illumination on the sidewalk.
There it was the street lamp lighting up the neighbored complete with the symphonic sounds that filled the street. The road noise from the highway, buzzing of the light, wind whistling in the trees. This moment reminded me of a simpler time.
A time when I could run out in the morning, no cell phone, only a bike and Mom would say, “Be home before the street lights go out ok?” I would yell back while riding my bike, “Yes Mom, I have shoes on too, but I never did.” We never worried about kidnaps, or drug dealers or condoms or needles in the park. We didn’t think of cross fire, or robbery. We did not lock our house. There was not even a key. There we no security alarms or motion sensor lights in the driveway.
Just a street lamp that would turn on when it was time to go into the house after a day of play by a young boy with his friends. We would play sometimes on the sidewalks and other times on the street, never even worried about getting hit by a car. Simple at best maybe a .99 cent ball to kick around.
A time when there was no hate in our neighborhood.