I have some problems with where I live. It’s too far from my family, in both miles and hours. The culture is foreign and even after 14 years I don’t feel entirely at home here. I suspect I never will. It’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I miss the landscape of my homeland.
But sometimes I feel very lucky.
Yesterday I wandered into town on a beautiful, crisp, sunny day. The sky was an impossible, cinematic shade of blue. The trees lining the streets were sporting leaves in every shade from purple to fire-red to banana yellow. The sun shone through them, turning the whole world into a stained glass-lit cathedral.
My son’s school, Kindergarten to Fourth Grade, paraded in costume around the park near the school, in a display of cuteness that banished every emotion but happiness from the immediate vicinity.
In the evening, I took my crockpot around to my neighbour’s driveway, where it was cool but not too cold to stand around eating hot dogs and chili and pulled pork, surrounded by costume-clad kiddies. Parents appeared with kiddie tables and fixin’s and napkins and everyone pitched in, herding the toddlers back to the tables and making sure everyone had drinks and food and someone to hug when they fell down.
At 6pm everyone paraded down the street and then we all set off to trick or treat around the entire neighbourhood. People whose kids are long gone sat on deck chairs in their driveways with great tubs of candies and made a fuss of all the little kids in just the way you wish everyone would treat your children all the time.
And this morning the sun is shining again. We don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. The neighbours are sending ‘thanks for the fun’ emails.
We live in a land of plenty. Sometimes it goes to extremes. Sometimes it’s just what you need.