The walk to school this morning was just pure delight. This day in Chapel Hill, NC is one of those famously perfect fall days--about 60 degrees, clear blue skies, and a strong breeze blowing the colored leaves in great clouds from the trees in our neighborhood. It rained last night so everything is a little dewy and the air feels fresh. I had Bean in the backpack and Sister by my side. Sister was already ecstatic at being able to scuff through our neighbor's drifts of red leaves when the first breeze hit us. We looked up to a huge cloud of willow oak leaves spinning somehow slowly above us, landing by the hundreds at out feet. This sent Sister over the edge, and she laughed out loud from her little belly. Bean cackled and squealed because Sister was doing it, which made Sister laugh even harder. Wet leaves smacked us on the cheeks, leaves stuck themselves in our hair, other neighbor girls on their way to school caught up with us, running and squealing. It was so sweet.
We live in a small neighborhood built in the late 1960's a pleasant half-mile's walk partly through the woods to the elementary school. I never thought I'd live in a brick ranch house, but the neighborhood is teeming with children and regular, liberal folks--plus it was one of the few houses we could afford in Chapel Hill's rather inflated real estate market. I really love our little house, and I love that we live in this almost ridiculously sweet, friendly neighborhood. This morning, just like every other morning, I passed the same middle school kids on their way to the bus stop at nearly the same spots on the street that I always do. On my way home I saw the same parents with their same kids running a little later than I do on their way to school. I saw the same cars with the same neighbors on their way to work at the same time. They have movies where they make fun of this, don't they? I've laughed at them before, too, but really it feels good that we fit into this life, that there is this order humming around us. And I suspect that that human order is observable even in big cities if you're out somewhere at the same time everyday and are looking for it. I find it comforting and comfortable and I feel fortunate on a daily basis to have this life as it is right now.
So it's into the kitchen soon to warm things up and scent the house with a big pot of split pea soup. I'm going to make it a little thin this time--not porridge-y--with small diced potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions, plus a little pancetta. We'll have that plus Irish pork bangers, hot crusty bread, good cheeses, and a green salad for dinner. I feel like making our dinner a feast tonight.