Most days my dog and I walk to our neighborhood park. It is the highlight of her sweet, furry day. And mine, too, usually.
On the way we pass a white house on a corner that is a group home for severely disabled young adults. A big, fancy van, the kind with a wheelchair lift, sits in the driveway at the side of the house. I rarely see anyone in the front yard unless they are boarding or exiting the van. There are basketball stickers on one of the front bedroom windows, like you might see in a child’s room. There is a large backyard with big trees and a patio. If I detour down the side street on a nice day, I sometimes see the residents on the patio eating lunch or enjoying the outside. We exchange waves and smiles. Occasionally someone might shout “I like your dog!” Thanks. I like her too.
The only thing that sets this house apart from others in the neighborhood, aside from being a bit plainer than the others, is that there are too frequent ambulance stops.
Last week I noticed two stacks of moving boxes on the front porch, three boxes in each stack. At first I thought they were deliveries for this residence, but when they were still there the next day I looked closer and noticed that 4 or 5 of the boxes were tied with some kind of rope or twine. And they weren’t new boxes either. They looked like boxes that had been in an attic or a closet for a while. I surmised they were set there to be picked up by someone, given COVID precautions.
It has rained off-and-on for almost 3 days. The front porch of this house is intermittently underwater. The boxes are still there and soaked through, the contents likely ruined.
I think about the boxes on my walk. What’s in them, to whom they belong, how many years of a life they hold, their measure to a person or a family, where they were meant to go but didn’t, and why they weren’t picked up. I want the boxes to be the sign of a fresh start, a chance at a new life. Or maybe it’s just old paper or records. But I know that’s probably not the case. And it makes me sadder than I already am.