Local labor and local harvest

Our neighborhood has an old school that isn’t used for schoolin’ anymore. The playground equipment was from the late ’70s or ’80s and was falling apart. Rope bridges with planks missing, etc. (actually, now I think about it, that’s the kind of adventure kids are always after, isn’t it?).

Several parents in our neighborhood have been active in applying for grants and organizing clean-ups, fix-ups and other activities to convince the City that we care about the space and that it should invest in our playground. They secured a grant of several thousand dollars for new equipment and it has been going in over the past week or so.

Men bonding the best way they know how. Note spacing, use of gloves.

Men bonding the best way they know how. Note spacing, use of gloves.

Coming home from church Sunday we saw that several neighbors were out in the playground with shovels and wheelbarrows, so Mara and I changed our clothes and headed up there. Wallingfordites Keith and Nytasha are the two organizers. Keith put me to work moving soil around, and Nytasha told me that every hour of labor that we neighbors volunteer wins us credits, or more money to spend, or matching labor from the City, or something similar. Others there were Cedric, Bill, Carolyn and David.

Mara hung out with Nytasha’s little boy Andrew while we big people prepared the ground around the play structure for an imminent arrival of wood chips. 

Honestly, I don’t think I’d have been so eager to help if I hadn’t started this blog, but having a public space where my whole jag is about community and sustainability and local-ness and all those other words that go together makes me more conscious of opportunities to do something rather than sit around complaining about how broken everything is. When I saw the neighbors working, I thought of my blog. Then I thought, a blog entry on this topic would have more integrity if I contributed a little. Those of you who know me and are familiar with my tragic and chronic “romantic pastoralism” know that complaining comes more naturally to me than doing stuff about stuff. Plus, I still haven’t sanded the play structure I built for Mara in our own backyard (which you don’t know about yet but you will soon), and my garage door still needs attention, so I have good reasons to shirk neighborhood initiatives.

I’m still not convinced that all this written reflection from me is a good idea. But having my antennae up for a good blog post nudged me into meeting some more of my neighbors, so that’s another tick in the affirmation column. I”ll keep at it for a while.

Mara eyes our first harvest of lip-smacking-good lettuce. Fresh, local, organic.

Mara eyes our first harvest of lip-smacking-good lettuce. Fresh, local, organic.

In other news, I fired up the barbie Sunday evening and we condired our grilled burgers with lettuce right out of the farm in our front yard, that we grew ourselves, from seed. Pow!


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