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Summer Winds

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Communal Garden
Communal Garden
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The warm summer sun rises over my shoulder and begins to burn the dew off the grass though some moisture still enters through the openings at the front of my sandals. The morning winds blow as the tall grass waves, the birds sing and play in the gusts while the lesser insect aviators remain grounded.


I have spent many hours here this summer and as the harvest nears the dying leaves of ripening crops whisper in my ears with the breeze that I shall soon be banished from this small window on paradise. Soon the cold winds will blow and the snow will block the rural roads and enforce my banishment. I realize and now understand that this is but a temporary respite and a momentary insight, an invitation to something natural and beautiful that we can only share with the earth. A harvest can never be not ours to own but only to share with this earth as the earth shares with us and renews our eternal connection.


Many believe and want to believe that this earth is our dominion, when we are but invited guests to a feast. A feast for the eyes and for the ears as the birds sing for us and the blossoms paint us pictures with eclectic pallets and the plants share their summer's efforts. They give to us all they create and ask for nothing in return.


I became acquainted with this communal garden quite by accident. My friend was ceded a garden spot and I gladly came along to help out. Little do I know about growing crops as the only crop I've ever grown involved pulling up male plants before the flower tops of the females became fertilized. This was a far different enterprise and I liked its Socialist tendencies immediately. Everything is shared in common in this communal garden, tools, tillers and hoses. Extra fencing, stakes and cages are stacked by the tool shed and are free for use by any and all.


There is no competition here, only the desire to cooperate with each other and to work together communally. The gardeners share their stories and their problems. It's been a tough year for corn and the potato bugs were especially hungry this year. The gardeners share their extras as well, my friend had an over abundance of cucumbers. She gives them away to friends and relatives and I've even suggested jokingly that she drop the over supply into the grocery store bins on the sly.


I had told my friend about the PBS series "Frontier House" where several city families where given land to live on as our ancestors once had in the 1880's. In the end the men had the most regrets about returning to this century. The women had the least regret due to the hard work load that was placed upon them; having to deal with wood stoves, no refrigeration, no washer and dryer etc. The children quickly adapted to a life without video games or cell phones. The experience made some marriages stronger while breaking others apart.


Yet there was a strange dynamic at work in their lives, they lived off the land and with the land. Their work was hard but it was satisfying, they gloried in their accomplishments and they discovered more about themselves than a lifetime of watching Dr. Phil. Rather than asphalt, concrete and plastic their lives revolved around wood, earth and grass, an ancient connection which is muted but not severed by this century.   It made me think about the many social problems we have in this country.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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