March 29, 2012, Washington, DC: We have a little outdoor space here at home. It overlooks an especially narrow alley because the street behind ours is a diagonal one that squeezes the backs of our homes close together. A mess of tangled black wires hangs above and a confident squirrel paces back and forth there daily. In late afternoon, a woman with a baby seat on her bike returns home from her errands, announcing her presence with squeaky gears. Across the alley we can see families in the homes behind ours in their kitchens cooking dinner, or people reading books through the large library windows. Quarters are tight and there’s no green in sight. It doesn’t much matter. We get a surprising amount of afternoon light. Our little outdoor space is a breath of fresh air.
We don’t mow the lawn here and we don’t spend time gardening. Gardening might be nice, someday. For now, we’ll buy herbs for our flower boxes and hang them on the railing.
When we need more space, more breathing room, we venture away from the apartment into our neighborhood and our city. We go to parks and to the waterfront and sometimes farther afield. On special occasions, people around here drag chairs out on the sidewalk and watch our city stream by.
With all this at our doorstep, just a little outdoor space of our own will do.
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