Friday, May 25, 2012

Hang Tight

I have a little project in mind. A bit of a random act of kindness, if you will. It's the kind of thing that potentially could offend, but could also benefit all involved. My intention is to replace a worn out and fading set of Tibetan prayer flags with a new set. Seems simple enough but here's the rub. It seems my upstairs window looks out over a small alley way that separates a row of backyards. The house directly in back of me has no fence dividing the yard from the alley. It's a rather unkempt hunk of overgrown grass with a jumble of berry bushes on one side of their neighbor's garage, and a little shared garage on the other side. The inhabitants of the house are either visually impaired or just don't care about their backyard. There is a small cement patio with a small coffee table and a ping pong table partly visible. Seems to me a little girl of about 7 or 8 lives with her parents there. Sometimes I see the girl standing on a swing attached to a tree in the corner of the yard. She rarely swings. Instead, she likes to spin in circles while standing. The "lawn" us usually overgrown and still adorned with the brown, crumbling, Christmas tree they shared 5 months ago. No urgency over there about how the yard looks or what it contains. Now and then I see one of the adults sitting in their little open-air patio smoking a cigarette or working on a laptop. I really don't watch them all that much, but there is one ting that constantly fascinates me about this view. This family, at one time, had a set of Tibetan prayer flags hanging across the length of their patio. At some point about a year (or two) one end of the flags became unattached. They still hang,vertically...somehow. They are discolored, unraveled, threadbare, and filthy. Yet they remain. After every good rainstorm we get, I look to see if they finally fell. Not so far. In the past year I have seen them endure rain and wind, sleet, hail and snow. They dangle there on 90 degree days and on 19 degree days. I suppose they will fall when they are ready. But I think about replacing them now and then. Just how, I haven't decided. I could leave a new set, with a note. I could ask if they's like a new string of flags. Or I could just do the deed. If I knew, for sure, that nobody was home I'd just cut down the old and replace them with the new. My thinking is that with a new set of prayer flags, the backyard might look so good that these folks would want to do more. Maybe even their skeletal Christmas tree would finally disappear. On the other hand, there is meaning in a set of Tibetan flags that won't go away.

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