Saturday, July 7, 2012

Early A.M. Ramble

As I walked the dogs early this morning, I couldn't help but explore a couple of empty houses that are currently for sale.  One used to be vibrant, I could tell, with its now dry and dilapidated rock water fall and its front living space.  As usual, I had to look in all the windows I could, noting the layout and the debris left behind.  In the backyard, I made a full turn around before noticing the amateurly painted mountain scenes on the low stone wall.  There was another dry waterfall next to an intrusive and ugly back porch awning.  There had once been a lot of time and effort spent on this property.  Now it's bank owned and vacant.

A block or so over was a house I have been interested in looking at for a long time.  It's probably a lot older than me, on a corner lot, made of stonework.  A squat house, it has no fencing to keep things in or out.  It's probably not good for a remodel, will most likely be torn down.  What caught my eye were the dried mud handprints left by a few children on the outside wall.  They were deliberate, like one last stand at possession of the place.    

Out front was a dresser.  It seemed like expensive factory made stuff.  One drawer was out and to the side.  The rest of it just sat there, the back a bit mildewy (as was the inside of the house) and I acknowledge my inner urge to take it home, sand it down, fix the drawer and resell it.  I patted that inner voice on the head, reminded her that my workspace is limited,  the piece not unique enough to warrant the effort, them moved on.

I passed by the home of an acquaintance I know, who is a hoarder.  I have gotten better at spotting these homes, by the long-placed, well-intended piles that spill out into the driveway and along the small sides of the walls.  Sometimes the bushes and trees are overgrown, sometimes not.  (If they are renting, there is a good chance there is a gardener on duty.)  Again, I take notice of the inner personae that wants to help, to rummage, to organize their house, their possessions, their life.  I send her a little smile and I walk on.

In front of another house is a stone lion.  I think about how it might awaken when everyone on the street is asleep or not paying attention to what's happening in the dark outside.  How it might prowl the neighborhood, making sure everything is in its rightful place.  I walk another half block around the curve and there are two more lions in front of a driveway and a third ensconced on a pillar.  Busy nights for the lions indeed.  Do they get together to roam or do they avoid each other, respectful of the territory that is innate to a small stone lion in the middle of suburbia.

I notice how many jacaranda trees are blooming.  They are my favorite and have been since I was a child.  I admire how pretty they are when next to the deep pink of a bougainvillea.  These seem to be happy outdoor yardmates, and many of my neighbors have planted them together.  I wonder how many of these pairings were intentional, as bougainvillea has a mind of its own. 

I am a happy wanderer, peering through backyard gates and into yards.  These folks must have had friends over last night, their small outside table is littered with empty beer bottles and a child's tea set. 

Another house has an empty, sad feel to it.  Perhaps a divorced dad lives here and doesn't have his kids over as often as he'd like. The front is austere and utilitarian, devoid of personal items or color.

Across the street is a home with flowers and fruit trees in abundance.  There is a garden flag on display and a cozy setting of lawn furniture.  It makes me feel cozy.

The neighborhoods are full of cul de sacs, jutting up to the Marine base.  Here is a gorgeous house whose whole backside overlooks the overgrown, fenced in wilderness owned by the government.  How their house must shake when the soldiers are practicing war, testing their explosions.  Do they use special adhesive to keep their pictures straight on the walls and their china figurines on the shelves?

A big dog barks at us and comes out of a front door.  There is no fence to keep him back.  He probably doesn't get a lot of visitors on this dead-end street and I don't want trouble, so I make sure my grip on the leashes are tight and send him dominant vibes.  It works.  He turns around and faces his house while we walk  by.  I keep an eye on my back, not wanting to be charged by a bully.  He keeps his distance, even though Buster the Boxer is now whining like mad, wanting to play with this big dog who can surely match his paces.

Each house holds many stories.  I appreciate my imagination as I walk past, able to spend a lot more time thinking about what might be, rather than whizzing by in my car, my mind on my agenda and far away from my neighbors.

I come home, happy that I can put a mental checkmark next to "walk the dogs" and grateful to have started the day by roaming my streets in the early morning fog.  The dogs are sure to be mellow for a few hours and the rest of the day is ahead of me. 

                                                                   Thanks for listening.

(Disclaimer  . . . not all of the pics included in this post were by me or were taken on the day of the posting.)