Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Focus: Life Is Still Good

Walking 2.5 miles in the snow to collect a vente black coffee from Starbucks this morning, I passed a group of children waiting outside an apartment complex for the school bus. I’ve seen this group of youngsters many times. They're usually standing around in a tight huddle looking very bored and cold.

The snow had elicited a sense of play, however, and this morning they were frolicking, running far and throwing snowballs while laughing gleefully. I admired a group of boys who competed to own a very large (basket-ball-size) snowball that one of them had crafted from the cold ground. The largest boy commandeered it and passed it to a smaller boy whom he told to run away fast. Other boys gave chase and the smaller child, realizing he was going to be caught, smashed it to the ground where all that was left of the great prize was a snowy puff of mist circulating in the air.

I nodded and said "hello" to the only adult who waited with so many school children and tried to figure out what country she might be from. Her clothes were brightly colored, as were the same style of elaborately decorated long skirts that many of the young girls around her wore. Her skin was flawlessly smooth and shoe-polish black. She had a decorative silky-head-scarf arranged attractively around her face but otherwise she was dressed very warmly (as were all of the surrounding children).

The closer I walked toward home, and the further I separated from that apartment complex, the lighter the population’s skin color became. Judging by the accents I often hear, many people in nearby houses are from the Ukraine or Russia. One man, from the Middle East (judging by his long beard and facial features) waived animatedly at me from the open doorway of his garage and I felt very glad to see that he looked so happy; when other experiences I've had from men born in the desert has been much less inviting or amicable.

An American-born, blond-haired neighbor of mine stopped her van in the middle of the road to greet me. She looked like she had spent a good amount of time applying artificial tanning lotion, as her skin looked a tad too orange.

“If I had known you needed coffee I would have given you a ride,” she offered, and I felt thankful for her kind gesture.

“I needed this walk before I begin sitting all day at the computer.”

“Next time I’ll go with you,” she declared, before driving off, slowly, as her tires made crunching sounds on the ice.

With television and print news bombarding the USA with so much negative information these days, I realize my neighborhood seems pretty much the same; full of energy and good people. This sense of happy abundance is where I hope most Americans choose to place their focus these days, because otherwise – we could easily become consumed with a very negative, unnecessary and futile sense of worry and fear.

today's cartoon borrowed from:

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