The Women of the Hamlet
I am sharing with the reader a story of my neighborhood; and it might just share some of the similarities of Mr. Rogers‘ neighborhood. These are my observations of my community that I share with other folk. I’m writing this about the women in our community although there are great men who also inhabit the hamlet, this is for the ladies.
One thing we all have in common is that we are strongly and emotionally there for one another, no matter what. Through grief, illness, sadness and joy, what brought us together is that we are neighbors living in a small hamlet overlooking the Hudson River.
There are several of us living here and I chose a select few to write about. I asked each neighbor to contribute to this story; but they declined, not wanting to expose their anonymity. I took the liberty to write a semi-fictional account of these angels of mercy.
One of us rescues feral cats and other animals; feeding the deer and other wildlife. The hamlet is abundant with lavish nature and wildlife. We live near a bustling city but are nestled in a wildlife refuge of sorts. Another walks her lil miniature dog who has a big bark. This little dog thinks she owns the hamlet and acts much larger than her tiny size. One of us is a very hard worker donning her uniform as she goes to work long before any of us arise, and is always ready for helping others in need. She is optimistic and personable most of the time. One of us is retired and two of us have a disability but have been hard workers in our respective careers; both as caregivers. One of us loves watching the eagles, songbirds and herons, egrets and beavers turtles, etc. She feels as though she’s living in paradise. One is an avid gardener all the way from Asia, offering Buddhist wisdom, hot tea, and a beautiful smile.
There lie many differences amongst us but we manage to avoid conflict over our political or religious values and other moral issues and just remain present to one another’s needs and remain neutral.
What brought us all together in a kind and giving manner? One woman has lived here for over forty years and is the historian of the hamlet. She is a neighbors‘ neighbor and knows the pulse of our tiny neighborhood. She’s a doer and a giver helping with transport; animal heath concerns; and is a caregiver of some of us when need be. She’s recently widowed and spends her days caring for feral animals, mainly cats, and other wildlife. I know that she used to ride horses and this was a passion of hers When a younger woman. One woman moved here from down South and lives alone with her miniature dog. She has adult children living not far from here but relationships are strained so visits are infrequent. She’s had a hard life filled with trauma and tragedy but has a huge heart. She‘s always there for others and has been the impetus of creating a caring community. She’s giving, strong spirited and kind hearted. She’s also a strong believer, but doesn’t push her faith onto others.
One woman is the hardest worker working two full time jobs to payback debt. She always has a smile on her face and always looks out for the other women, offering to help in kind ways. I feel that I don’t give as often nor as much as my neighbors, as I’m struggling with some health challenges but I give what I can. I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it and graciously receive the gifts form my my now friends. I spend my days with my aging canine companion who enjoys watching neighbors’ comings and goings. I’ve struggled with challenged family relationships; mental health issues as well as medical issues.
There is a tapestry shared by all of us that landed here from differing places and for different reasons. I chose to live amongst the beautiful river and abundant wildlife. I moved a lot as a child and have finally found my home where I belong.
Years ago the neighbors who lived adjacent had been threatening; drug addicted and violent and I would minimize my interactions with them.
I am so grateful that our hamlet has a group of angels disguised as women, descend upon our neighborhood, showing one another how easy it is to be kind.