Thursday 27 September 2018

A community of misfits

I walk past garden gnomes who cheekily moon me. Across from them is a "Bat Box", a wooden box hung up for bats to sleep in with a happy bat painted on the front.
One house has a cornfield in its small front yard. It's only about 30 stalks in total, but it's a real tiny cornfield in the midst of a residential neighborhood.  
The walkway of another house is guarded by three sinister looking gargoyles.
There is at least one dog in almost every yard, happily barking at us as we walk past.

I love walking through the different neighborhoods of this small town. The houses are built in the 70s, like me, and just like me they are a bit rough around the edges, with some marks and bruises, but lovingly maintained and decorated (for the most part). No two houses are the same, and many show the personalities of their owners.
I walk past fairy gardens, Wild West-inspired back yards, enchanted places almost completely hidden by ivy, twinkly lights strung across porches, and colorful Christmas lights waiting patiently to soon be turned on again.
Many houses have deer milling around them, that special species I have never encountered anywhere else that's completely fearless of humans. On the contrary, here you have to watch the deer carefully, because they're known to stalk people or even launch an attack if they feel threatened. I can't help but admire their spirit.
At first glance, many houses look a bit shabby. But once you look past that, you see the loving details and proof of the devotion of the house owners: hand-made signs proclaiming the names of the inhabitants. Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Beautiful flower beds bursting with color. A children's play house painted the exact same color as the big house.
I walk past a trio of metal chickens picking merrily in the dirt, and chuckle at a sign announcing "an old grouch and a nice person live here".

An old Winnebago that was parked by the side of the road has now been squeezed beside the house it was parked before, and I marvel how they managed to fit it into the tight space.
People are getting ready for winter, as evidenced by the piles of wood I see accumulate in many covered sheds along my way.
The first Halloween decorations are coming out, and  I smile at the ghosts swaying gently in the wind and the pumpkins brightening door steps.
These are not affluent neighborhoods. They are not shiny or impressive or awe-inspiring. But waving at people sitting on their stoops with their dogs, soaking up the last rays of sun before it disappears, peeking into lit-up windows, and watching the neighbors tend to their corn fields, flowers and porches, a warm feeling washes over me.
This is a community of misfits, and I fit right in.

xoxo Miriam


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