We live in a pretty remote area. I wouldn’t call it a “neighborhood.” There are hundreds of acres of state forest behind us and only a few houses on our tiny lane. We quickly found out that people move here so they can be alone.
We know our neighbors by name and the boys next door make frequent visits, but we don’t really “know” them. They’re friendly, but there are many days when the only contact we make is to wave hello when they drive by. There are some days when we don’t see them at all. Even when we’re all outside, there are trees marking our boundaries.
One of those trees came down during hurricane Irene and it was blocking access to our road. At first, it looked small enough that we thought we could drag it off the street. I snapped some pictures and said, “eh, we’ll deal with it later.” Hours later we heard our neighbor, Chris, out with his chain saw. I encouraged Earl & Logan to help him. I knew we had a strapping young boy for a reason and this boy loves real work!
At first, Chris thought we might be upset that he was taking our tree for firewood. On the contrary, we were pleased to have some help moving it out of the road. And so, they worked, talking as they went, helping each other out. You know, the way neighbors do.
More and more, we are getting disconnected from people. People are checking their iphones when they gather together. People often send off emails instead of picking up the phone to talk (myself included). People (even in “neighborhoods”) pull their cars into the garage at night without having to get out to say hello to their neighbor.
I’m not sure much has changed since our run-in with Chris. At least we now know that he is a pretty cool person. We know he’ll be there to help if we’re ever in a pinch. Storms are a good reminder that we are all connected to each other. When it really comes down to it, we need people.