where are all the children?

“It’s pretty quiet out there.”

“Yeah–full of all us old folk.”

“So there’s no children around?”

“Nope, just us old folk.”

I ventured outside today, for what reason, I don’t know.  In my head I spoke–coming up with words and rhymes I so dearly wish I remembered.  Too late–I remembered.  “Oh, my cell phone records.”  I pulled it out and mumbled feeble words into while I was passed a house.  Doors, windows, garages–closed.  Everything locked up.  People.  All hiding behind their big walls, windows, doors.

My yellow stripped bag from Target banged my knee, making me wonder why I ever bothered to bring it along.  I had headed out of the house with the simple desire to be outside and walk.  I was in a neighborhood, no-where close to a park or anywhere to go, but simply a big void of empty roads and endless houses.  No one around, expect the couple I saw two houses down.  My guess: they were cleaning out their garage.

Such a pity, such a crime.  So many people living so close together, but none bothering to commune.  So easy to judge, so easy to suppose–when I myself do the same.  I wondered where the children were–the people, what were they doing?  Probably what I had done the previous day, sat inside, watching tv seeking myself into a hole of technology, blocking myself from the world outside.  Oh!  The beautiful world outside.

The air was light and it made my hair fly around softly, brushing my cheeks.  The day was hot, I was in shorts, with a strap-less shirt, but wearing a cardigan over.  I have yet to gain the confidence that it’s summer and the truth that I will not get cold if I take off my cardigan.  Regardless, I felt one with the sun–becoming a disguise as I walked–my cardigan was yellow–like the bright sun above me.  The grass was green.  I was stun when I came by the small lake in the area.  No open area to the public–all was private own.  I felt a small feeling of sadness when I noticed a beautiful dock – a bit away from a house – with a sign on it saying: “Private Property.”  All I really wanted was to simply sit by the lake.

Watch as the sun glittered on the water and hear the duck sing.  I wondered who lived behind that big door.  Did they watch as I approached–perhaps, worried what I would do?  I wonder.

I wanted back to the house.  I only saw one child in my 60 minute walk.  She was helping her mom with chores.  Cleaning up the short yard on the front.  Her face looked dull, as if her duty was too great and tedious.  Ready to set back “free” to go inside and get lost–in this world of new imagination.  A world where the beauty of the world outside appears vague and unsatisfying.  Where “impossible” becomes real before the eyes of the old and young.  A world fake, yet fascinating.

“Oh, yeah, its real quiet around here.”

My heart sank.  Will we be doomed for ever to grow up and lose the simple join of life?  The one found outdoors?  The one I too, guilty, have so many times neglected?  A 60 minute walk of nothingness and of simply observing refreshed me–more than some old computer or television could have ever done.

We don’t have to seek for a desert place.  It’s all around us.

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