I went for a walk tonight with my dog, Bella. It was kind of refreshing being outside in the cold, walking briskly with my heavy jacket on. Five minutes in, I had to unzip my coat. But I continued on. I was determined to put in 30 solid minutes of exercise, and if you’ve ever seen my neighborhood, it’s not your typical walk in the park.
Most of the streets dip wildly up and down, so even after you’ve begun you already know you’re in for a decent workout. I usually hate walking in my neighborhood for that sheer reason alone. As me and Bella walked, we passed the usual giant dogs barking at us, cars getting a little too close to the curb and the myriad of other normal-neighborhood things you encounter at 7:25 at night.
I usually end up going all the way to end of my neighborhood (which, in my mind, ends near my old friend Melanie’s house) and then turn back, which is what I did tonight. The most interesting part of my walk didn’t happen until I was halfway back to home. I was passing houses of people I knew and when Bella stopped to pee for the hundredth time, I saw it. This one house of a family I don’t know terribly well. I remember their son vaguely from my days on the schoolbus. I always thought he was weird. I’m pretty sure he’s much older than me.
But the point isn’t their house. It’s their backyard. They have a pool, which, you know. Isn’t anything too exciting. A million people have pools. But their backyard is lit up entirely with Christmas lights. Bright, neon ones decked all over the trees and around their pool. I glimpsed it through the cracks in their huge fence. I just can’t believe I’ve never noticed it before. It was like magic and Christmas and wonderment all wrapped up into one neat package, displayed in their yard.
It made me really happy to see it, and after Bella was ready to go, we carried on as we always do. Maybe when I get my own house, I can convince my future husband to let us decorate our backyard in a ridiculous amount of lights. As long as the neighbors don’t care. But that’s what fences are for!