Monday, December 04, 2006

The Gardens of Eden

The Gardens of Eden

It's Monday. Nonetheless, this halcyon day is sunny and still. I hear the harmony made between the humming freeway and the drone of a far-off lawn mower. Everything might still be okay. It is right now. It's got something to do with this neighborhood. Not too many owned homes, some young people, some old people. Each house is different in color, shape, and architecture. The cars aren't new and some of them don't run. They are merely ornamental, even sentimental. Some have Democratic bumper stickers from the 1980's. "Vote for Dukakis,” says one, "No Nukes" says another. The houses have rickety fences that are not designed to keep people out but instead to frame their small, humble weekend gardens; a little mint, a little lavender, maybe a vegetable or two.

It isn't the same sterile stillness you get in the suburbs. It is heavier with history and more at peace with its material longings. It is a forced modesty for which I am grateful. The people that live here didn't rise to the top, they didn't achieve the dream, didn't pay off their debt. They also didn't forget that suffering is an acquired skill, that anyone can suffer but few suffer well. They didn't forget that there is always somebody on the other side of their fence. Today, that somebody is me.

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