The breeze is gently blowing through the trees. A wind chime sounds, and mourning doves murmur. Here and there I hear voices, people outside enjoying the summer evening, children playing. These are the sounds of my neighborhood. I’m walking through the Boise North End from the local gas station, carrying a 6-pack of beer and a stick of beef jerky. And I’m in love with my new hood.
The gas station is only 5 blocks away, and it’s an easy walk from my house. On the way there and back, I walk through Historic Hyde Park, several blocks of restaurants and shops, all kinds of impossibly cute. It’s summertime, and Hyde Park is bustling as usual. It’s not a mass of people, not like going to the mall. Or Walmart. It’s a small town, cozy, neighborly vibe. People are sitting outside on patios, talking, imbibing, eating. Biking back from Camelback Park for post-ride grub and beer. Eating ice cream. Music spilling out of Parilla Grill, the local cantina. Windows and doors are open, inviting.
I love varying the route to and from my house. The North End is easily the most charming neighborhood I’ve ever seen or certainly ever lived in. The houses are older, built in the early 1900s, each one with its own unique personality and character. I pass by a man and woman on the front porch of their beautiful house. The guy and I happen to make eye contact. As I walk past, I hear the him say to the woman, “She’s walking down the street with beer!” I turn and wave. The woman waves back and grins.
Just passing by, carrying my beer home. Howdy, neighbor.
I Am Home
Unlocking the door of my house, I feel the delight that comes over me every time I walk in. Every inch of this house has character. The floors are all hardwood, there are many windows. It’s warm, inviting, eclectic. Feels good on my soul.
I know the names of my neighbors. My neighbor to the left just moved in. He shook hands with me the day he moved in, apologizing for the moving truck blocking my car. My neighbor to the right is a bass player and I’ve seen her band perform. We hope to jam together soon.
I love how I can walk or bike to a plethora of cool, awesome, unique places. Live music venues, pubs, street fairs, breweries, liquor stores, trails, grocery stores. All within a 20-minute bike ride, a 5-minute walk.
As I write this, I’m sitting on my back deck, in a yard, with grass. My own yard. It’s quiet. There are lots of trees. Sometimes a squirrel peeks over the fence, paying a visit. The tiki torches are lit and porch lights glowing. My guy and I are on this deck all the time, listening to music, playing guitar, barbecuing, watching the stars come out.
Hello to Me
What, you may wonder, is the big deal?
This is all new to me. I have lived in suburbia for most of my adult life, and mostly in apartments. While clean and pretty, suburban apartments don’t have a lot of character. Shared walls, floors, ceilings. A small balcony to sit on, at best. Nothing walkable. You can’t walk or dance too forcefully or turn your music up too loud or you might disturb your neighbors. In my experience, apartment dwellers tend to avoid each other. Don’t get me wrong. I had good times and lived in beautiful places in suburbia, too. It was another time, another phase, in my life.
But moving to this new place, this new hood, feels deeply right, like home. And it feels like I’m moving into a different phase of my life, a promise of the real me. Where new people, new experiences and places, have entered and transformed my life. Something inside of me is unfolding, unleashing.
Cool. Pass me another beer and turn up the music.