Image via WikipediaI've noticed an interesting dichotomy about the yards in town as I take a slow bike ride on a summer evening. It seems that the nicer the yard is, the less likelihood there is that anyone will be out enjoying it. The homes in the wealthiest parts of town have lovely flower gardens, fountains, immaculate grass, and, sometimes, play equipment that would put a park to shame. But invariably, there is no one outside. The houses appear deserted, sitting back away from the street in splendid isolation, although I might see the flicker of a TV screen through a window. That's rare, too, though, since the houses are normally shuttered up like a maximum security prison.
But when I enter the less ritzy parts of town, there are people walking and bicycling. Kids are playing in the yards, many of which connect, with no fences to limit the size of the play area. Sometimes music will be playing and a group of adults can be seen sitting on the porch, watching the kids and enjoying the cool air of evening. I can get a real sense of neighborhood, as opposed to the isolation that seems to hover like a fog over the large McMansions sited on their huge, golf course-perfect lawns.