The world many of us don’t see

I like to take pictures. I don’t have a fancy camera but I do have wanderlust. This combination means I sometimes wander onto the side streets and other places some people never think to go.

Yesterday I was walking an abandoned set of railroad tracks behind the hotel we’re staying at. The debris that become shelters are remarkable. There is a world that many of us will never experience.  People are remarkably resourceful when it comes to sheltering. Tents are good of course, tarps, even ripped or ones with holes work too. Kiddie pools make a good roof. Under bridges and overpasses that are shelter from the rain and sometimes snow.

Piles and piles of cans made me wonder why they were being collected but not traded in. In New Hampshire we have no bottle bill so one can’t take the cans and bottles to a grocery store and turn them in. The best you can do is save them up and take them to a metal recycling center. That requires transportation so if the recycling center is too far away even a shopping cart doesn’t help. I can only think this is the reason.

There were small works of art. Crosses, old wind chimes small statues and other things to make a it home. The thing that struck me were the pet homes. Small shelters set up for pets. Bowls of food and water dishes set out for the companions. Little homes for the friends of the homeless.

It made me pause, in our busy and important lives what really matters? I can only imagine what it’s like to be truly without a home. Back in the 70’s I lived in my car for a while, mostly because I was in my “bad girl” phase and it made me one of the cool kids. But I always had a place to go, even if it was someone’s couch or the use of a yard for my car with a place to shower when it was too cold to go to the local swimming hole. I worked at a bar on weekends so I could have bought food, I say could because I usually opted for alcohol or drugs. I could have gone home, it’s not like they threw me out, I just chose to stay in my car so I didn’t have to follow the home rules.

So what would it be like to sleep in the open night after night? Would I be kind enough to give a stray dog a place to live? To give them food even when I myself was hungry? I’d like to think I would but until I’m faced with a situation I won’t know for sure. What would my decorations look like? Don’t we all go through our things and just throw away stuff that we are bored with? The things we get for presents that we oooh and awww over then toss in a drawer.  If that’s what it took to make a place into a home, would I use your discarded wind chimes?

In my travels and adventures in different cities and places around the country I have been some places I probably shouldn’t have gone but it has given me the gift of seeing a world that I would only read about otherwise. I am grateful for what I have. I can only hope I continue to be. Maybe by being a wanderer and observer I will.


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