Waking early, I decided to take a walk through the neighborhood near our hotel. For me, walking always gives me a different perspective on a new place that can only be achieved at ground level, outside, and at a slow speed. Today was no different and in just two short miles I was struck by the incredible contrasts even among neighbors.
Setting out from our brand new hotel, I walked up the busy boulevard along the golf course, the groundskeepers busy with their morning duties just after sunrise. I turned into the neighborhood at the country club, as shiny car after car pulled into the parking lot, their drivers eager to make their tee time. Continuing up the street, well-manicured golf course community homes, likely built in the 1980s and 90s, glistened in the dew, their neighborhood set apart from others by gates and walls. Some fellow walkers and runners waved good morning as I passed.
The white marble steeple of a newish Mormon church appeared on the rise; a second right next door featured the contrasting darker red brick architecture popular in the 70s.
Turning the corner, the neighborhood contrasts were glaring. Older ranch-style homes built in the 60s and 70s were prevalent, with a few newer and much more modern homes built atop the ridge overlooking a deep wash. Where the former neighborhood featured HOA-predicated sameness, this street was a hodge-podge of styles. In a few cases, yards included cars on blocks; a dilapidated older ski boat drooping sadly on its trailer, tucked-up against the wall surrounding the golf-course community. A man emerged from his home, walking to the driveway where a pristine, restored VW Beetle was parked and started the older sedan next two it. The engine clattered and squeaked as if it hadn’t seen a drop of oil in two years!
The contrasts weren’t so much about the differences between the haves and have-nots, as it was the passage of time. The older neighborhood seemed to have aged like a married couple, a little blind to the wrinkles that come with age, property owners coming and going, personalizing their surroundings and reflecting their individuality. The newer neighborhood was a reflection of the desire for a more controlled and planned environment, with its owners trading individuality for consistency in look and feel. It isn’t a question of good and bad, right and wrong … just the recognition that people are different, around the world and right next store.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Put on your walking shoes and see the contrasts up close.
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