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    Peaceful Action, Open Heart - Thich Nhat Hanh*** Eat, Pray, Love*** Peaceful Living - Mary Mackenzie(daily reader)*** The Vein of Gold - Julia Cameron (this is a read a chapter a week type book)*** Dubliners - James Joyce*** Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring - Jean Watson*** The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Volume I***
  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.
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On being a nosey neighbor

The neighbor across the street has this sort of haphazard mass of greenery that I will call a garden. She shares this little square patch of verdant earth with the same neighbor with whom she shares a wall in this teeny little duplex (to give you an idea of the small space I am talking about). The house is painted an eye-numbing bright blue that I, in spite of myself, have grown to love.

My neighbor is from Laos I think. Not thinking this on any authority mind you, but just because I am led to believe that there are a lot of Laotian people in this neighborhood and am following the ‘logical’ conclusion. It is very likely I am way out in left field, but I support my illusion anyway because it gives me a sense of connection. She wears a conical hat made of straw, or some other such, while she tenderly cares for this compact green chaos. She pours much love on what looks to me to be weeds and a straggly little tree. To her, these must be much more. Perhaps edible greens and maybe the tree bears fruit. I don’t know and probably never will.

You see I have never been close enough to see for sure, even though it is just immediately across the street. I just watch in the mornings, much like I watch the birds in my trees and at my feeder. Once, about five years ago, shortly after we first moved in, I observed her working so lovingly on this garden and offered her a holly bush that I had just dug out of a front bed (I wanted to plant flowers).  I hated for the bush to go to waste, and I thought it would be a good friendship overture, but she declined with great disdain. Perhaps I offended in some way, or maybe she thought I was offering her a great thorny weed. Not a good way to start off this neighborly thing after all. After a few years with no response to my friendly overtures (mostly waves) I finally quit trying. She is still a curiosity to me. I am sure there is some major cultural bridge that I don’t know how to cross – or maybe she is the one lacking the knowledge or desire. I wonder who she is, and what was her life like before she came here? Does she like it, or has American culture affected her ill as it does many first generation women immigrants who become isolated and strangers to their children who become such saavy Americans. Does she feel torn between cultures? Or is she confident, happy and content? And what are those plants?!


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