919 NOBLE ST.
There are small children setting off bottle rockets in the alleyway. They live in the house behind mine, across the alley. They have a cat. Or, at least, they take care of a stray cat. The cat is orange, a shorthair. With a snubbed nose. Not the most handsome feline, but certainly a friendly one. Crookshanks, I’d call him. He/she/it purrs and rubs and meows and rolls in the dust, the dirt, chases birds, and lies in the grass for hours and hours and I watch it from my second story window, the one that overlooks the alleyway. The alleyway our resident transient visits.
Things seem perfect, sometimes. When the ambient noise are the laughs of children and the distant Interstate traffic. A hum, a white noise hum of movement, of life. The traffic keeps moving. Time keeps moving. The berries? The tree? Everything just outside my west-facing window? It will all turn. Turn from green to yellow to orange to red to brown and fall, fall down, down to my patio and to the ground, the cold ground and turn and crumble and be buried beneath snow and shadows. But, for now, it is perfect. The light, the colors. All of it, just barely waving, whispers of wind in the leaves. I could reach out and touch it, if I wanted. Taste it, too, if I wished.
A life is much better lived when no one is watching. The hours pass more slowly. There is gratitude for the smallest things—for clean dishes, for a line of glass bottles along the window sills, for stacks of unread books, for the creases of your white comforter. It will not always be like this: clean, simple, calm. Things change. They always change.
You can’t stop traffic. You can’t stop time. Everything ages, including the children who play in the sprinklers, who set off bottle rockets, who ride their bikes and giggle and laugh and enjoy each and every moment of summer. The depths of it, the beginnings of it, the end of it.
And I watch it all from my window. Like “Facing Windows.” Like “Rear Window.” I watch. Watch the children, the neighbors, the breeze, the transient, the cars, the sunrises, the orange cat whose simple ways surpass us all.