This is a story within a story, and a delightful surprising experience I have to share! One of my physical practices is to walk almost every day. I have a residential path that I follow that takes me on about two and half mile round trip. It is a wonderful way to get outside and see all of the neighborhood gardens full of beautiful plants and flowers. Walking like this most days brings me outside into the fresh air and gives me exercise in a gentle format that allows me to listen to music or audio books or just walk and think and even meditate. I can tell it has become a good habit because when I don’t go I notice that I haven’t walked and I miss it.
I walk past houses and think of the time it took for someone to set up and cultivate their landscaping. What wonderful choices they have made. Some folks decorate and some folks express. Here is a very creative example that appeared at the beginning of the pandemic and masking.
One house that I pass by has a couple large windows and I couldn’t help but notice the resident had a Cinco de Mayo display almost like a Macy’s storefront window display. On Halloween they had a crazy but wonderful display with witches and ghosts and pumpkins. If I remember correctly they had attached an almost life sized witch smashed into the telephone pole overhead. I was so impressed I took a picture! It was just so funny! Such an unfortunate demise for this crazy witch!
In current time they have sports themes in a tight arrangement to display their pride and enthusiasm and you just know they’ve got a big screen tv to watch their games.
I told myself there must be a story behind why this person is being so creative and putting so much craft into a window display! I invented a back story that they used to work at a department store and missed their previous life. I wondered what the rest of the house looked like if their windows showed such a high level of artistry. Each round trip as I came around the corner of that street I wondered will the display change?
This made me think of all the ways that people can be creative and passionate in their lives. Many of these creative and artistic forms are not typical or standard, and some of them are subtle and deeply personal. I think all of these are meaningful and bring meaning and serve as ways to express themselves and their ideas. It is important to acknowledge that all kinds and forms of creativity exist in many different contexts.
As you may know my main form of expression and creativity is in songs. Writing and performing songs. As we have been coming out of the pandemic I have been fortunate to have found some outlets to perform. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is to hold house concerts out of my house. This year I’ve made a commitment to go for it and I had my first offering at the beginning of May.
Looking to find a good small audience I contacted a friend who had hosted me at his house many many years ago. His house is larger and he is naturally gregarious and a wonderful host! In fact playing a show at his house was my most successful house concert I had ever put on. I have many fond memories of that experience. He and I had been out of touch for years, and I was so delighted that he accepted my invitation. I remembered he lived somewhat near me, but not the exact address.
He added another friend and it turned out to be a mini-reunion. We had set up the concert as a potluck and it was a small but warm group and I was so thrilled to share my songs with them. As he and I chatted we both agreed that we should get together for walks since we lived relatively close.
About a week later I asked him if that day was a good day for a walk together and he sent me his address. Our plan was I would walk to his house and then together we would walk back toward mine and then we could walk together more frequently.
I headed off in the general direction of his house and as per usual listened to an audio book. It was a beautiful day. As I made sense of the location on the map on my phone and rounded the corner, I realized it was the same street as the house with the window displays, and thought oh I wonder if he knows those neighbors? But then I started looking at the house numbers! The house with a big beautiful window display was his house! What!?
So many wonderful memories and connections came flooding back! I told him I had been walking past his house almost every day for a while and admiring the displays as they change. He said this was a carry over from his time as a teacher when he would decorate the classrooms, and the rest of his house is so eclectic and wonderfully designed. I was just stunned that this house was inhabited by someone I knew!
So, I thought I was going to write a cute little story about the diversity of expression and creativity observable on my neighborhood walks. Instead I magically was reconnected with an old friend who is the source of that creativity and now a walking buddy to boot!
Was it a Madonna song that said, “Beauty is where you find it!”