Recently I happened to be in a part of town where the most direct route home was through my old neighborhood. That neighborhood was my home and my refuge for twelve years. I expected to spend the rest of my days in my little house by the bike path. I moved to the beach in 2010. I had not been in that neighborhood in more than a year.
As I drove beside the bike path where I used to walk every day, I recognized every house. I knew which ones had dogs that would run out and bark at me when I walked by. I knew which ones had pools in the back yard where the family would congregate on weekend afternoons. There was one house with a high fence that had a trampoline in the backyard. Every once in a while I'd be startled by kids jumping higher than the fence. Sometimes they'd grin and wave at me.
Everything looked exactly the same as it had when I lived there, but I felt a weird sense of disconnection. I was in a familiar and beloved place, where I had once felt at home and safe. Now everything looked the same, but I no longer belonged there. In fact, I felt like a trespasser. The very path where I used to walk daily seemed alien.
I couldn't wait to get back to my home at the beach where I feel safe.
Nothing is forever. Cherish the now.