A Frightening Sight

It's obvious that the days are getting shorter and autumn is on the way.  The summer has cooled considerably and it feels more like fall already (I'm ready for my spiced pumpkin coffee).  It's even more obvious that they days are getting shorter as I go for my morning walks.

I go out at approximately the same time every morning (and it is early) and make up a route.  (I try to vary things so that they don't get too boring.  I see different places in my and the surrounding towns and I try not to walk the same route more than twice in a week). Although I've been walking a while (and when the cold weather comes I'll go back to my DVDs and put off the outside walking until warmer weather), I still manage to find new places to go.

This morning it was pretty dark when I went out.  I found the usual bunnies and deer around as I walked around town.  I was about halfway through and the sun was starting to come up in the east when I saw what I thought was a women bringing out trash.  It was a bit odd because I was not in a residential area, but I figured perhaps it was an early morning worker.  As she headed back from wherever it was she came, I realized that what she was putting out were big black trash bags, but they were not garbage.  They were her belongings and  they were piled in a smallish shopping cart.

As I continued walking I realized that the woman had been overdressed (even for the cool morning) with a hat on her head and long sleeves/long pants.  She must be living/sleeping in the area behind the business/office I had passed.  Did she take out her things every day?  Did she have to so that her things wouldn't be taken or so that her "home" would not be discovered?  What did she do during the day?  Where did she go?

I saw her only briefly, but I thought she was older than me.  But was she?  Was she my age?  Could I BE her?

As I continue to navigate through the unemployment maze, despite the assurances of family and friends, I get scared.  Usually it happens in the dark of night when I can't sleep, but even as I write this in the light of the morning not having any income is scary.  There are three of us in our little family and even being thrifty the bills add up.  That is not to say that we are destitute or even near that.  We DO have money and I can (for the most part) pay the bills.  But as the days go on it gets a little scary.  And seeing that woman really brought it home for me.

I don't know her story.  I don't know why she was there.  But she was in my neighborhood.  And I realize that she could very easily be me or someone I know.  Being on this unemployed track makes me realize how lucky I am to be have the savings to use (even as they dwindle).  And I am resolved that even as unemployment insurance continues to frustrate and thwart me, I will do whatever it takes to keep my family afloat.

When I am back in a financially stable place, I will not forget what I saw this morning.  I will not forget that I saw in my own backyard that there are people who need my help.  And I will do my best to help.  Whether it be donating my time (as I have been doing at the local thrift shop) or finances (especially at the local level).

What I saw today is frightening sight.  Because it was "in my backyard".  And it's in yours too.


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