I live in a really lovely place. This is the view from my kitchen right now. It's winter, so it's not as nice at the moment, but wait a second. Let me show you.
The walk by the lake
I could go on all day. My neighbourhood was designed as an experiment in landscape design to enhance the building of community, and it has worked pretty well. We have our conflicts, to be sure, but it's the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, and people take pride in their neighbourhood. We have cooking groups, book clubs, groups that get together at ethnic restaurants and potlucks. We have a group that keeps an eye on older neighbours who might need help, and a group that brings meals, flowers, cards, etc. to the sick, post-partum and grieving. This year we are reviving the community 4H group for the kids, and will be working on creating a monarch sanctuary in among our many shared gardens. This is a place where things are happening.
I was very excited to be asked to be part of the group putting together our 50th anniversary celebration. It's going to be amazing. We are going to have an entire year of events; food events, art shows, wine tastings with poetry readings, music from our own musicians, family events, a photo gallery of our neighbourhood's history, a tennis tournament, a book... again, I could go on all day. In a world where people are often very disconnected from their neighbours, we have somehow managed to preserve, or perhaps create, a fun and supportive environment. I am so, so grateful to have grown up here, and to have the chance to raise my kids here. I have been blessed, since I moved here on my first birthday, to get to know people of all ages, races, nationalities and backgrounds, that are more like family than friends. I've been blessed by their wide range of knowledge, talents and experiences. I've been blessed by their love and their support. Where else do your neighbours read about your bad day on Facebook and bring you over a bottle of wine? That is what it means to love your neighbour. I am really hopeful that this 50th anniversary year can be a year where we pull together even more, and invest in the future of our community.
As this is my Year of Poverty and Simplicity, I'm reflecting on all of this abundance. I think this is the key, this abundance of blessing, beauty and love instead of an abundance of things. These are the real riches.