As people are emerging from the restrictions and isolation of the pandemic, some things annoy me, some frighten me, and some make me smile. The annoyances may be offshoots of freedom from restrictions and isolation. Drivers are rolling through 4-way stops, racing on straight stretches of road, ignoring zipper merges, texting at stoplights and missing the green light creating a frenzy of impatient honking of horns. Another annoyance is late night fireworks that sound like cannons. I have sympathy for the neighborhood dogs. Robocalls are unnecessarily intrusive; I tend to ignore calls from numbers I don’t recognize. I probably miss a few friendly calls, but so far no one has called me on it.

Thieves of packages from porches, or catalytic converters, or yard signs and lawn ornaments puzzle me. Dishonesty is not part of my understanding of the responsibilities of humanity. Painted symbols or obscenities on fences or on buildings disturb me. Littering and destruction show no healthy respect for our world.

I am frightened by the rising level of crime in cities. Guns take so many lives of innocents. Walking or driving in some parts of the city, especially after dark, has become dangerous. All of the fear caused by people who feel left out or somehow disadvantaged by society shouldn’t be part of a civilized nation.

The divisiveness of politics troubles and often frightens me. I don’t recognize my country in some of the behavior I read about in the newspapers. I don’t understand people who deny climate change even as we are in the midst of fires and floods, melting ice in arctic waters making seas rise, increasing deadly storms affecting all parts of the country. I am bewildered by those who refuse to be vaccinated for Covid, putting others at risk.

We love walking or driving through our neighborhood. Some of the landscaping is notable and creative. Painted rocks or friendly messages chalked on a sidewalk make me smile. Young people playing a friendly game of ball or tennis and riding bikes are healthy signs of summer. I love seeing a young person pulling weeds, mowing lawns, or shoveling snow. Neighbors helping neighbors remind me of growing up in a small town where it was a common sight and where I always felt safe.

I suspect it’s my age talking. I long for days of peaceful and loving behaviors. I miss feeling safe and useful. May we see once again some of what made this a place to be proud to call home.