There is place that I know. Unremarkable in all respects but one. People there cherish each other and share the blessing of company. I visit it in my head sometimes, and watch their lives unfold: decent people raising decent families. Where the policeman keeps an eye on things but has little else to do. Where the young are celebrated for their energy and the old for what they know. The buildings are well maintained but simple in design.
Courtesy among strangers, and understanding between friends fills the air with a gentle light and festivals empty the houses and busy the streets, joining the community into a single whole. The surrounding fields fill with growing crops, ruffled by the antics of the breeze and pets relax in a world of gentle harmony.
I have never been there, or know where it is placed, but I have sometimes glimpsed it in the faces of people whom I pass, or the longings of my imagination, A place without self-importance where dignity of conduct is unquestioned. Where talents are celebrated but never worshipped. We know this place, not glimpsed except in dreams. An unassuming paradise built on faith.
Often, I have thought, the more aware a man is of himself, and his ambition, the more likely he is to cast his shadow on another’s life. In another culture in this other place or time, people might live in harmony with themselves and celebrate their surroundings and routines while having no need to advertise the fact or even consciously acknowledge their achievements. To be at one with their surroundings, and the people who inhabit them, would be their unsought reward