Place and Community
Community and Place
Place: a marker of time and origin
heart to earth spot
an awareness of
history, of this moment, of potential
a visceral emotion
reaction and response
burn to build to nurture
a place in common
comes from individual fires
building, building, building
autonomy within the structure
strength in self governance!
New ways to mix with old
traditions honored through
a younger Heart-mind-vision
we all set aside the confines of
absolute truth and right and wrong
coming together for the
good of the whole
will be defined by the hands
that shape, that set to work
with a focus of communal balance
all as equal, all cared for….
Is this possible? This type of communing is very much alive in my heart, as I seek some tactile form of co-creation, in a place that i feel connected to- Vashon Island. I can only have the vision of what I want to participate in, as the collective vision is still an unknown. Can my connection to place- be the starting point to ‘like-minded’ commitment?
Before moving to Vashon, I lived in community for 11 years and I felt very connected to place, in the city center of Seattle. It wasn’t so much the structure of buildings that nestled us within a bustling and growing (read:development) neighborhood. Twelve of us, collectively bound by bylaws that entrusted us to steward the three buildings on a small parcel of land. All to keep available for affordable housing. So, the bylaws, written in the mid seventies focused on the structure and longevity of a place, but when you bring the human factor into that, it can evolve into so much more.
I have a fond memory of a day – that no one could plan or envision. With respect to all involved I am not placing names in this sharing. Cooperation happened, out of necessity and a sense of urgency. At 10pm a storm hit the Seattle area. The wind was fierce and shortly after the onset, it ripped an Atlas Cedar right at the roof line of our front house. Those of us who were home, came out to see what the noise had been, to find the tree had fallen, hanging by the place of the tear, and the upper portion landed on the edge of one of the porches facing our courtyard. Now consider that the courtyard is maybe twelve to fifteen feet wide and the part of the tree that fell is about twenty-five feet long. The damage consisted of a gutter, one bicycle and a vine trellis! A mass of lengthy limbs obscured entries and the tree was still hanging at ten feet above, at the tear. The next morning, those of us who were home gathered and began to work together, in the most beautiful way, to bring this tree safely to the ground. We came up with a securing at the point of the tear, using thick rope and knots. It was a slow process of taking out the lengthy limbs, pulling them away and a teamwork that honored everyone’s ideas and input. We worked past sundown and when we felt it was time, we lowered the heavy end down to the courtyard floor. There was a mourning of the loss of this beautiful tree, but also a feeling of celebration in our success! The base of that Atlas Cedar, now a snag, is still standing with two young vine maples placed on either side. Our arborist told us two things after that day one that we had good tree karma! and that she wished she could have been a fly on a wall, watching how we finished the felling.
Many have had experience with an emergent situation, and the coming together of community during times of crisis and immediate need, is brilliant. Is it possible for humans to step into these ways of being, in everyday life?
This experience was a true example of cooperation free from ego and personal attachment. All came forward and chose to participate in a way that they felt able and willing to do. I see this potential, in communing and I have witnessed different forms, based on the people who came together to build it.
Clarity of purpose comes to mind, and much like in the practice of yoga, when the mind wanders from its focus, you gently bring it back to the breath. When a group wanders from its created purpose, the group gently guides it back to that purpose. If there is clarity within the group and all are stepping forward and committed to the good of the whole, the focus will be there and be strong. It’s not about agreement, it is about cooperation and a commitment to something greater than oneself.
Linda Moore 12.2.12