After noticing dusk had fallen a few minutes ago I wandered into the garden to get the washing in, and was met by a wall of cold air. While unpegging clothes and folding them into the basket I listened to the birds singing their twilight song, and smiled at the huffing of a hedgehog somewhere in the undergrowth nearby.
There’s something tremendously peaceful about the dying of the light, and the effect it has on the world around us. Darkness seems to fall like a quiet blanket over the world, and everything in it. Well – everything except the teenagers listening to music in their car several streets away.
I imagine older people will be complaining to each other about the music – forgetting they were young once, and also forgetting that the reason they sit in their car is because previous generations have systematically opposed any and all provision for young people in the town.
When I first moved here – twenty years ago – there were plans in place to build a civic centre with a bowling alley, a cinema, a club, and so on. The town planners rejected it – instead allowing a developer to turn the site into luxury apartments that stood empty for years because nobody could afford them. There were also plans to build a sports arena – they too were rejected because house prices of senior members of the council would have been affected.
They say coffee shops are an indicator of wealth arriving in an area. A portent of sorts. There are at least five coffee shops in the centre of town now – all within a single scooter push of each other. A town where you can buy any variety of international coffee bean in a cardboard cup, and yet you can no longer buy a washing up bowl, a mug, or a kettle. It has nothing to do with the internet – it has everything to do with wealth, property owners, extortionate leaseholds, and greed.
I can’t help feeling the town is going the same way as a town I grew up near. When I was young it was a busy, thriving place filled with young families. By the time I left it had become a single road lined with antique shops and restaurants, and an almost entirely aged, retired community.
I wonder what causes people to lose sight of everything and everybody around them? What causes them to focus on their own aspirations above and beyond anything else? Will they ever realise that their wish for “a quiet life” eventually means no young families, no parks, no shops, no social gatherings, and the eventual destruction of the town they once knew and liked?
For what it’s worth, I have the windows open, and I’m playing music. Music that somebody, somewhere will probably be complaining about.
In other news, after dinner this evening I sat with my eldest daughter and watched the movie “Freedom Writers”. I’ve seen it before, and I’m now wondering if some movies systematically take us apart – ripping away a different piece of us each time we watch them. Each viewing becomes more difficult.