There is a school near where I live — a special needs school — that I pass nearly every day whilst out walking my dog.
As I passed, I would see the children in their classroom, engaged in various activities, or outside in the play area, occupied in their own thoughts and their own world.
Sometimes, we would pass them in the park, being taken by their teachers either on an exciting adventure, or maybe just for a pleasant stroll. Often their faces would light up when when they saw my dog and they would excitedly point him out to the teachers and helpers with them. And such a simple thing as that would brighten my day, also.
I would reflect on the dedication and skill of their teachers and helpers, and how there was something right with a world in which we take such care of those to whom life has dealt a such a shitty hand.
Then, last summer, the school closed and the children were moved to another school several miles away — rationalisation of resources, I expect. Now, I pass something that’s no longer a school, but just a building behind a wire fence, its grounds filling up with detritus, the paintwork slowly peeling, the spirit — the life — gone.
I’m not suggesting that the children are any less well cared for or that the dedication of those who do that caring is any less in the new place. I just regret the loss of the very visible evidence of that care in my daily life. Like the building, that small, almost inconsequential part of my daily routine has lost something indefinable.