After three months of social distancing I’m constantly itching for opportunities to go out and be present in society again. I want to see familiar faces and chat with friends over drinks. It feels like the world is only just starting to wake up from a long hibernation and I’m ready! Sometimes it’s enough to just sit in the park and read for a while, listening to the soft buzz of distant conversation mingling with the music of insects and birds and traffic on the next street.
Today was one of those days. There is an incredibly heartwarming and hobbitlike attitude on the streets of Valparaiso. It’s a community full of neighbors being neighborly. I feel like I’ve stepped into the Shire, where everyone gathers to celebrate each small festivity with good food and ale and where every lawn is well kept and flower boxes are overflowing with hues of the most blazing summer sunsets. I half expected to see Gandalf’s tall pointed hat meandering through the greenery at Ogden Gardens Park, Bilbo Baggins at his elbow, happily smoking a pipe and chuckling over extravagant birthday celebrations.