I was sitting on my back porch this weekend, reading my book, when I looked up and saw the same abuelo that I had observed a couple of weeks ago. He had the toddler with him again and this time he was also accompanied by a chubby 8-year-old boy.
The boy brought a bat and instead of practicing his pitching, like the toddler had a few weeks ago, he practiced batting. The distinctive ringing sound of an aluminum bat is what caused me to look up in the first place. Again, his form was pretty good for a kid using rocks instead of a ball. The grandfather wasn't pitching but simply watching. The toddler was standing near his legs. Every time the boy made contact with the rock, the toddler would cheer and clap, cheer and clap. If the rock made contact with any object in the alley - shipping container, I-beam, fence - the boy would drop the bat and run imaginary bases to the cheering and clapping of the baby. The baby never varied his enthusiasm for the boy's activity; regardless of whether the bases were run or not, his response was of the same high intensity. This went on for 10 minutes straight. One boy tosses a rock up and hits it. The baby cheers and claps. The grandfather watches it all, standing in the shade of the El tracks.
I think I've mentioned before that I'm staying in my neighborhood even though the commute to school to will be about an hour and I no longer attend the "neighborhood church" that I used to attend.
I'll be honest, the main reason that I have made this decision is that I hate to move. Really hate it.
Also, the apartment is very well set up for a stranger roommate, with lots of doors and very little shared living space. It's also cheaper than any single I'm going to find anywhere.
Finally, though, I think it's important to put my roots in a community. If I live two years here, then two years there, then two years somewhere else, how will I ever feel like a neighborhood is my home? How will I ever get to experience the rhythms of a grandfather returning to the alley with his grandsons to practice baseball with them?
As humans, we experience such delight when we can make connections between things, connections between experiences, connections between people. How will I experience these connections if I put a big schism in the geography of my experiences?
10.18.17 - I can't believe the date when I write this, but we really just had our first hard frost this week. It is so very late for us, I can't remember it ever even...