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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

Meet the Neighbors

We are meeting our new neighbors. We share a driveway with a young couple that have small children. I like having kids next door. They are loud and chaotic and their laughter can be infectious. I like to hear their conversations, which at times seem a lot more real than adult conversations I hear.  Kids will tell you what they think!  The couple welcomed my husband and I and suggested a bar-b-que later in the summer.

Just up the road on the corner is an old cemetery from the 1800’s. It was the first cemetery in Ashland. I have a fondness for cemeteries, especially older ones that tell the history of its place in names and dates etched into stone. This one has a bench toward the back of the property where one can sit and contemplate the ephemerality of life. We are here and gone in the blink of an eye and there is both fear and perfection in that. Sometimes I like to walk the rows of graves and plots and read the names, saying them aloud in a kind of honoring of those who have passed. The winds slowly erode the older stones and the names begin to fade…another reminder of how we receded from life until even our name has been taken by the wind. The cemetery is the perfect neighbor; quiet and peaceful and welcoming to times of sitting quietly meditating upon the circle of life.

Then there is Sandra. She and her husband Richard live across from me. I met her yesterday morning. She was standing in the middle of the most amazing garden I have ever seen. Her body is lean and tan from the labor that it takes to keep this parcel of land thriving in blossoms. I like her hardiness and her obvious dedication. She feels like someone I would like to get to know…and maybe she will share some gardening wisdom with me.


I haven’t met the neighbor on the other side of me yet. I saw that he was doing Tai Chi in his yard yesterday morning and I watched from a respectful distance, appreciating how graceful he looked. He plays the saxophone. My husband and I heard him practicing. Fortunately, he is not new to the instrument!

Right now we drive up and down the hill between hotel and house, watching the final touches being put on our new abode. Jeter, ever-faithful Lab, has christened the yard and claimed it as his. Dean and I assembled some patio chairs from the Home Depot yesterday. We were grateful for the place to sit that they provided in the afternoon as we waited for the phone guy to finish his job.  Waiting on phones is like waiting for Godot. The two-hour block of time we were told to allot, turned into seven.  Oh well, I had a place to sit.

I love the moisture in the morning air here and the green that surrounds us. I like our neighbors.  I am eager for our stuff to get here from Colorado so that we can move in and settle. In the meantime, I am enjoying the anticipation and the endless conversations with Dean about where to place furniture and whether to plant lilacs. Life seems friendly.

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