Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On the good news front

Harold was barking frantically at something he saw through the front window not too long ago, and when I looked outside I saw a neighbor standing in the front garden with a stranger. I wasn't alarmed, though, since I knew the neighbor was converting to a xeriscape in response to LBB's stage two water restrictions. She'd already warned me that she was going to bring her landscaper down to show him which plants she liked.

The front garden, in contrast to the back, is one that I've been slowly converting to a xeriscape for the past 15 years, and this year it has really come into its own. I find myself spending countless hours out on the front patio, under the shade of the umbrella, reading or writing, or simply chatting with the neighbors as they walk by.

I also spend a lot of time watching the comings and goings at this simple little water feature I've installed, which is very popular with other kinds of neighbors:

I had a long term plan for the garden, way back when I first started it, thinking I'd add the big elements as time and money allowed. This year I finally finished off the last of the big stuff, with the addition of some decomposed granite in two flower beds and some buried drip irrigation. As a finishing touch, I added several big blue pots for a color accent. I figure that blue pots look good all year, with or without plants. As it happens, I've populated these with succulents, which will need less watering than petunias:

I've turned this blue pot, shown here in this morning's welcome rain, into a little water engineering project, about which I'll talk about in a post in a couple of weeks, after the last component is installed:

And finally, I've recently had quite a few other people besides my neighbor asking me the names of plants in the garden. So I've decided to add some plant markers:

To close on a completely unrelated note, as many of you know, I have been serving as my neighborhood association president for a little over a year now. When I say "neighborhood association," some people might think that it has something to do with covenants covering the heights of fences, or what kind of lawn you are allowed to have. In reality, though, that is not what this is about at all. Instead, the NA spends nearly all of its time on projects related to the quality of life in our community--how to foster it and how to protect it. This year, for example, we are working hard to get our own farmer's market up and running. It has been a challenge, with its own special roadblocks, but in the end, it will be worth it.

The year has not been without frustration and heartache, but it has been loaded with bright spots, too. After every board meeting, in fact, I come away filled with new hope for the world--yes, the world, not just the neighborhood, for how can the world fail if we have so many good people in our midst?

After a meeting with the farmer's market committee on Sunday (a bright spot, but with challenges), followed by a chance meeting with two people who want to serve on a committee that is just being formed (concerning a potentially serious problem), I was trying to express to Walu how I felt about serving as a leader in our small community. There did not seem to be one word that came close to describing the complexity of what I was feeling at the end of the day. It wasn't happiness, since that seemed not to acknowledge any of the worry or tension, of which there has been a great deal. And it wasn't frustration, since that leaves out the satisfaction and joy of being around people who are working hard together toward solutions.

Anyway, in this context I have been lately thinking about Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. She was a woman very concerned with matters about community, and has long been an inspiration for me. I was recently reading a book of hers, Every Day is a Good Day, and I ran across this comment she made about two women of community that she admired: "...Roberta and Debra, who get up every morning and stand for something larger than themselves."

Who get up every morning and stand for something larger than themselves...

That about says it all, doesn't it? I'm thinking that a person could do worse than live that kind of life.

1 comment:

  1. Susan,
    Lovely points about leadership, etc. I think she had it right. And your blue pots with succulents are great. Sedums are one of my favorite genera...

    See you in Asheville!



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