The upside of living in a wealthy community planned in the first decades of the 20th century is the attention to space--public space integrated with private. Throughout our neighborhood, we have pathways that run between houses, marked sometimes with discreet signs, but othertimes just turning off from the sidewalk and going seemingly nowhere. Exploring them is an exercise in trust, as is all exploring--trust that they will lead you somewhere, trust that you'll be able to find your way back, trust that you aren't inadvertently trespassing and, if you are, that the person whose land you have "violated" fails to own a gun. Little things.
Luke and I discovered the Squirrel Path a few weeks after arriving--it leads off from the end of a cul-de-sac through hedges down to a choice of steps wending their way down the hill. There are indeed squirrels, and leaves, and views of the sunset at the right time of day. And very few people tend to use these paths, at least not when Luke and I explore them. Perhaps no time for exploration. Perhaps these are known territories for many long-time residents. Perhaps steps are too 20th century for folks.
A word of thanks to those elite planners, putting together this suburb, who felt that pathways to nowhere were important. That climbing up and down stairs on foot might take precedent over climbing into the SUV (they also didn't allow garages when the community was built--there were shared stables which could accommodate your fancy horseless carriage if you had one). Here's to walking, to watching the leaves change, to the surprise of the first snow in the air.
I call this philosophy not the Middle Way, but the Squirrel Path.