The Glory Of Outside - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1699424

The Glory Of Outside

Today, I left the house. I went for a run down a long road and passed a piece of sculpture at the gate of a driveway. It was modern, colorful, and looked like something knocked out of a planetarium. This was the most modern, colorful piece of modern, colorful art I’d ever seen. I took pictures and thought about it all the way home.

A couple of weeks ago, when my son and I left the house to play tennis, a big, friendly man walked by with his two big, friendly dogs and said, “Hello.”

I remembered him from a few days earlier, when he’d also said, “Hello.”

He had a big voice and commended us for playing tennis. He was so friendly that I decided we were already friends. Then he walked away.

There was another time recently when I went outside on our porch, because the sun had finally broken through. In the distance, I heard a boy tell his mother, “Those rocks look just like the ones at Easter Island,” which wasn’t what I expected.

But, then again, what did I expect him to say?

No matter how you experience the quarantine, there’s nothing like coming out of hibernation. The outside world is on overdrive — noisier, richer, almost brand new. So color-saturated it almost makes one shy.

Reentering Planet Earth, I am hit by the shock of the present. Words come out of people’s mouths in real time. Things I see have a smell like I’ve suddenly scratch-n-sniffed everything around me.

People are so much more interesting when they’re not telephonic. Everyday life, in all its magnified brilliance, is like discovering gold.

Why can’t the world always be a superlative? Why can’t it always feel like the first hour on earth? I don’t want to go back to being unimpressed but suspect that this wonder will slip away at some point, without me even noticing.

The other day, my daughter called from Scotland and was telling me about two men sitting in an empty playground who she was watching from her window. She reported that they were sitting on a swing set. I pictured her standing in her pajamas and drinking mint tea in an apartment I may never be able to visit.

Eavesdropping is a sport that she and I never tire of playing.

“So, what did they say?” I asked her.

“Nothing,” she told me.

But, of course, that made the story no less interesting.

Jenny Noble

Sag Harbor


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