Tolstoy sternly reminds us, “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” I agree, and less sternly add, notice and take note, of the lessons and the gifts, when you do.

Lately I’ve looked around and noticed:

The purchase agreement: Prior to close, we are accustomed to reviewing that part of the contract that speaks to repairs. But recently, I was reminded - again - that it pays to look at the entire contract, including what stays and what goes: appliances, lawn ornaments, window treatments or even a hutch. I failed to notice, so I got to step up and remedy. Lesson: Notice the fine print, not just the highlights.

Neighbors: Two moved away recently, and I got to help. They are good people who were good neighbors, and I miss them. I got to know them best through our time working together as they were leaving. I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to get to know them better when they were, quite literally, in my backyard. Now with their absence, I notice and miss their simple courtesies, the comfortable rhythms of their lives and the cheer of their familiar greetings. Lesson: See the little things and seize little moments.

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Storms: We’ve had a few recently, and each time I lose sleep, but not for the obvious noisy reasons. I worry, mostly, about my clients’ homes, especially the ones under contract. What damage may be occurring? How will it affect their closing? Lesson: Good people, agents and clients pulling together can solve about anything, and we did. Lesson 2: The worry did not change the solution much. It only made my hair even whiter.

Memorial Day: Why were some flags at half-mast and some full (and why had I not noticed this before)? Google provided the answer, but while pondering this I pondered the day. I’m most grateful for the “Some who gave all,” but also for the “all who give some” - neighbors, clients, colleagues and even politicians. I get to live here, with them, and you, because of the ones who gave all. Tolstoy was right. Stop worrying and look around. I hope your view is as good as mine.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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