A bottle of wine and puffed clouds strewn across a pink sky. And a trio of boys scootering up and down the sidewalk in bare feet.
A couple of weeks ago, on one of the last carefree days of summer, I joined my neighbor on her front porch. Our boys - dirty and happy yet not quite tired from their last day of summer camp - buzzed up and down the sidewalk, swinging up occasionally to run into one of our backyards or to collapse on my neighbor's lawn to catch their breath.
Almost in tandem, our husbands returned home from work. One emerged with a bottle of local wine. The other with a couple of glasses. Eventually, the sun tucked between the two story homes across the street, taking the last vestiges of daylight with it.
Finally, we dragged the boys in and to bed after darkness fell. After the wine was gone. Dinner cold. A set of Thomas trains richer. With good friends next door.
Getting to know your neighbors doesn't have to be difficult. It doesn't have to be formal. Or even planned. So often, I have thought that it would be hard to meet neighbors. That I would need some sort of event to draw us closer, to pull people from the television sets. So often, others have expressed the same feelings. People are nice, but not in their own neighborhoods, they lament. Or they haven't gotten to know anyone where they live and it's been 4 years. For me too!
But I find that just being out front is often enough to get a connection going. My front yard garden, my exuberant boys, a runaway cat - those are all things that break the ice. That, and a bottle of wine and a pink sunset.
So grab a bottle and out there. Be a good neighbor.