Although I spend many hours each week talking to hundreds of people, I don’t often see them in person. Today was a not an ordinary day. With enough elbow room that we don’t need to whisper or smother out sneezes, it is easy to not see my nearest neighbors for days at a time, but today I spoke with three of them.

The first was amusing, and odd. With him, I had a strange, unrepeatable conversation ranging from squirrel reproductive organs to the social hierarchy of vultures, and the names of all wild life near his home. They are all called ‘Sweet’. It was not always clear whether the current Sweet under discussion was a turtle or a squirrel.

It was enervating in the same way getting a fizzy drink up your nose is. As a collector of oddments in people, this was a genuinely rewarding conversation.

And then I chatted with a neighbor about her new-to-her son, and developing a strong, bonded relationship with him. Not odd at all, but she talks nakedly about the joys and the struggles of mothering. I wondered when I walked away if she realizes that she is living something remarkable. It was a heartening conversation.

And then a dog ran across my backyard and we had to cordon him, and so began my third conversation with a neighbor. About dogs, and exercise and poop! I’ll spare you that one. This neighbor and I had waved to each other and exchanged emails, but I’m fairly certain we never had a conversation in person. She was wonderfully pleasant and neighborly and her truly great dog was splendid and refreshing – like a spring morning.

Even though I spent an hour in the oncologist’s office, that was bolstered by my brother visiting, and my sister doing pain management and my in laws celebrating. Today was a day in which I felt built to be a part of the human race. I’m therefore grateful for humans. Swarthy, smelly, laughing, emotional, utterly charming humans: gratitude 3.

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