I love to take a neighborhood walk. I think it is good for the body and soul and goes a long way towards building a sense of place, community, and the need to care for both. I am, however, increasingly concerned about the lack of children in the street and out in yards, really the lack of any people at all. I walk for miles through neighborhoods with carefully crafted and beautifully maintained gardens, miles of lawn, and thousands of dollars of outdoor furniture; I never see a soul. I am alone in walking, alone in enjoying the fresh evening air, and apparently alone in believing that children are better off for being sent to play outside. This saddens and concerns me, but more than anything it leaves me confused. Why bother with the nice house, the fancy yard, and the expensive barbecue if you will not use or enjoy it? Have we crossed so far into our consumer and electronics driven culture that even our verandas have become little more than status symbols?
Take a walk. Take a meal outside. Take a break from modernity and sit on your very own front porch.
Photograph of Mark Twain Porch Sitting: