Do you see what I see?

Every year the homeowners in the six or ten square blocks that comprise our historic neighborhood light luminarias on a designated night. Not everyone participates but a good many people set out the paper bags weighted with sand with candles inside; it’s a beautiful, if dangerous, southwestern tradition. Over the years, we’ve had a few flame ups but no real casualties.

 

Last night as I was putting ours out, I noticed that a number of the younger people on our street chose not to participate and so I groused.

 

“Maybe they have better things to do than put out luminarias,” Mitch said.

 

Like play with their smartphones?

 

When we moved to the neighborhood, we were the young people on the block and I marveled at the small-town charm and neighborliness of this tradition. We enthusiastically lined up our paper bags and watched in wonder as the street lit up with these quaint lamps. There have been years when snow and bone-chilling temperatures quelled our zeal for the project, but with enough layers and stout boots we managed to get them lit and tour the nearby twinkling streets.

 

This week I found our little festival of lights imbued with more magic than usual. After retina surgery on Wednesday, I still don’t know whether my right eye will return to normal (though all indications are that it will). So I took in the color and brightness on our street gratefully and relished kind words from our neighbors.

 

I realize the following sounds cranky and unseasonal, but I want the younger people on our street to know what a rare treasure we have, people next door and across the street who care and want to share their lives beyond the boundaries of their fences. It’s a good reason to light a candle or two.

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