I'm sure I remember it nostalgically because there is always a twilight, lens-flare-filled filter attached to the memory. We're riding pushbikes around the culdesac, or collection of streets that made up our suburb hemmed in by Australian bush. We're building 'treecubbies' and secret clubhouse's in the trees. This bush was epic too; carved out with fire trails for easy access by fire engines during summer, and 'mean jumps' for punk kids during winter. They were just nice walking trails for old men and their German shepherds, but to me, they held all the secrets of my childhood.
All of them, like the time I thought I killed my friend Alan. (We'll get to that in a later blog.)
I haven't had memories like these in a long time, in fact, I've had moments like this rarely in adulthood. Our recent three years in Nashville stand out to me. And I wonder what is the common thing that applies the twilight Instagram filter to these memories?
I believe its the idea of 'neighbourhood' or even local community. In the last few months, I have realised I may be addicted to it because its loss has left me craving, daydreaming and if you ask Amy, rambling about it like a crazed, addled maniac. I miss living in a hood. I miss knowing neighbours. I miss the community you hardly have to leave home for.
I miss the neighbours who would borrow my kids, feed them and bring them back exhausted but incredibly happy. I miss the adventures to the swimming pool and synchronising visits with the friends, the family bike rides, the trails, the sunsets with a sizzling bbq grill and a cold beverage.
Life in a city like Auckland, New Zealand (where we now live) isn't like that. I guess we don't have the suburbs like we had in Australia and the United States? We don't know our neighbours, and our kids don't live near their friends (we, 'the parentals', don't live near ours either.) How do you fight for community and fellowship in an environment like this? How do you keep your house alive with the noise of friends and family laughing at all hours?
I wonder if the next great disruption won't be technological but communal, a return from social media to actually being social? A way to bring true community back to cities - and to modernity? I want to find that! It's a conversation I want to be a part of.
I don't know what it looks like yet, but when I find it - I want it to be more real than an Instagram filter.