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An Afternoon’s Walk

After a period of rainy, dreary days, one of them Thanksgiving, where depressed, dark eyeballs were so tired that they marauded between hallways ready to snap at innocent, unsuspecting, depressed, trapped children and housemates (never with Godly results), outside, not much peering out of windows could detect flattened, yellow leaves on the ground, shrubs like skeletons with scant leaves still attached like little reminder notes, gray squirrels scurrying up telephone poles (you fear to their sudden deaths that render everyone else powerless), and holiday inflatables deflated on the ground as if little boys went around at night with silent dart guns, with teenagers who just got their licenses behind the wheels; all this in a steady, soaking rainfall, then the next day dried and lightened up, and our community came out.

I started with the front of my building and my fellow residents: “Hallo! Nice day! Warm, too! Nice to see you, too.” I said the same to the elderly couple on their porch across the street, and proceeded on. The mums and marigolds that looked like white suckers dropped by children on the street yesterday were full of body and yellows, reds, and peaches. I crossed the street and went up into the health cuisine restaurant. “I just wanted to say hi”; I rarely can afford this place, but I love it—will have to bring a rich friend in, sometime. Before she could thank me and say good day, I disappeared up the street to the old folks’ home where they were out in full throttle catching some rays. “Hi! Nice day!” “Oh, yes: lovely day.”

I turned the corner and passed the neighborhood senior center and went into an alley. This street reminded me of summers down these lanes where wild vineyards and mulberry trees grew freely and the fruit was delicious if you are not picky. I made a round turn at the ophthalmologist’s: sight‐saver. Then turning south, I dropped into my pharmacy. Tom the druggist was too busy to chat, but he gave me a warm hello before going back to explaining to an elderly customer how to take her medicine. Then I walked home. I was concerned about the kid riding his skateboard down the middle of the street, and I then noticed all the inflatables still inflated.

You do not have to step into a Quaker meetinghouse to experience community: take a walk.

Happy winter, everybody.

Grant Stevenson is a member of Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Meeting.

Posted in: Features

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