Did You Ever Notice?

I hope your day is as sweet as fresh cream butter on a warm yeast roll.

Did you ever notice how little we notice? I stepped out on the back porch a while ago. I went through the usual routine; checked the temperature; took a few deep breaths; considered all the homeowner projects that need doing; shrugged off the panic that comes with considering all the projects that need doing, and then something caught my eye.

My neighbor is building a barn just on the other side of the property line. And, it’s not like he only just started it. It is almost completely framed in. Granted, he works a lot faster than I do but when did all this happen and where was I and why didn’t I notice it sooner? And if I don’t even notice a barn going up right next door, what else have I missed?

It’s not that I don’t care about my neighbors or what’s going on around me. It’s just that I’ve apparently fallen into a habit of focusing only on the little rectangle of life that I control and am responsible for. Which, I guess, is not necessarily a bad thing but what if they were in trouble; what if they needed help; what if they were simply lonely and I just didn’t notice because my focus stops at the property line? What if I needed help? Would they feel comfortable crossing that line to offer assistance, or would they stand on the other side and wait to be asked? When did I become such an isolationist? Am I alone in this, or have we all narrowed our focus to the point that we live parallel lives?

I think I’m going to make more of an effort to know my neighbors. Nothing big, probably. I’ll just take a couple beers and walk down the street until I see someone who looks thirsty. Or maybe I’ll just put a bench out near the curb and sit down and see what happens. Maybe my neighbors would like to know me.

Maybe it’s time to turn off the T.V. and shut down the computer, and venture out into the neighborhoods that surround us. Maybe it’s time to recognize that we’re all in this together, that we all must depend on each other, that life can not exist in a vacuum, nor can a meaningful, rich, and full life be lived in one.


Tim Couch

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