©2021 by Vernon Miles Kerr, VernonMilesKerr.com, Originally posted to Twitter in rough draft on 9/13/2021
The Village Life in Suburbia
It seems ironic—as I follow my small dog on his appointed rounds, sniffing his way through our verdant, shady but blue-collar neighborhood, he reading other dogs’ tweets and posting an occasional reply—that this tranquil, quiet, suburban existence is so anomalous. Yes, there are other such neighborhoods, all over North America and Western Europe. But even here in drought-stricken, fire-scorched Northern California one is usually unaware of how anomalous it is.
The horror of incinerated small towns and fleeing citizens is only about a hundred miles away, but the lawn sprinklers automatically start and stop as we walk, and fellow denizens being lead by their own dogs, pass by. We, virtual strangers ,exchange pleasantries.
Ours is the “nice” side of town. So far, we are little aware of the gang activity, crime and constant gun-fire over across the freeway. But there is that lingering dread of the inevitability of change. I repress these thoughts and refocus on the riotous variety of temperate and tropical plants and flowers in each neighbor’s little patch of paradise—pridefully rattling off in my mind the Latin nomenclature, while people vying for control of our country’s enormous budget literally hurl bottles and threats across urban battle lines—and brave women, in a mountainous land, half-a-world away, face off with barbaric invaders—in their own once-peaceful neighborhoods.