Monday, August 3, 2009

Ruth's Golden Thumb

Tony says Ruth doesn't have a "green thumb", she has a golden thumb! Her 4 x 4 garden has been spectacularly successful this summer, and the latest evidence is this green pepper which she picked this morning.

And the "gardeners" are not the only ones who enjoy our labours. I can see into the community garden from where I sit. I can't count the number of visitors who respectfully enter the space, who bend to touch a leaf, or show a tiny child a blossom, a squash, a tomato or other plant. And yes some kids have pinched a tomato or two, but maybe it's the first time they've ever popped a tomato, warm from the sun, off the vine and directly into their mouth. Maybe 10-15 years from now they will remember that little tomato and plant some of their own.

The Community Garden is about more than cabbages and pepper plants. It's as much about growing community as it is about vegetables. And since I am keenly interested in communities I see it as a bit of a social experiment. I ask the question, "Does it make this a better place to live?" and the answer must surely be yes.

You begin to create a safe and secure community when you decide that you will be a good neighbor. Like charity, building community begins at home. Building community is something we each can do, right here, right now, in this place.

Nobody is an island. We will do better, and have a better place to live, if we think of this little park by the lake as our village, and discover anew the truth that we have learned many times in history: united we stand, divided we fall, cooperation is as important as competition. Anything and everything we do to make this a better place to live helps us all, and helping us all is what community is about.

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