I am a 60 year old male, raised in Mercedes, Texas.
My adult life has been spent as a “corporate gypsy” through six states and three countries.
I was not been in one place long enough to force down roots until here, San Antonio. That haunted me , having come from a family rooted in a small town.
My wife told me of this place , with trepidation.
“It’s on a greenbelt….”
Images of a constricted swatch of token grass danced in my head. The photos were fuzzy.
Then I saw it. The house backed onto a dry creek .6 miles long and 5.6 acres total. Hill country.
Behind, brush was chest high. Mesquites strangling in thick Greenbriar, forsaken.
I saw butterfy, wildflowers,and varmints.
One home was cleared behind.
It made the plain appear less forsaken.
I resolved to clear my part.
So I learned my neighbors, after fifteen years of tertiary relationships.
Custom said the “city” sent tractors twice a year to indiscriminately mow the growth.
That wouldn’t do.
Neighbor Rudy approved my cleaning up.
I bought the lawn tractor I had always wanted.Cover more ground. I was soon clean.
Learning of butterflies and birds began in earnest.
I had Saturdays and gasoline. I mowed more in between.
No one tried to stop me.
Short chats with other new mowers was about vandals. The dirtbikes.They were a threat to families walking. No one wanted injuries.
After two years I knew I had become involved with this piece of ground. Others had too.
I had sweated into it. Others had too.
Who actually owned it?
The deed said we did. The two associations that border it had bought it. The city refused it, sold it to us for back taxes.
Soon it was clean totally, except for one area. Understory for homes for small creatures.
I sought a position on our board, ran as a single issue candidate. The plain was my issue.
The neighbors backed me, the board was accepting.
We asked the city for one big haul out of heavy trash. They responded.
Besides them 30 other souls turned out.
It was a success. My son cooked for us.
It is clean at this time, even pretty.
Signage is posted to prohibit vehichles.
IThis all happened because of stewardship acted upon. An internal community grew.It donated sweat, money , and time. Because the place was worth wanting tokeep up.
Since Viet Nam, I have remained wary of the big words, like community.
The past eight years has eased that wariness.
I have watched people work hard from belief, because they wanted to.Community worked itself into me.
This I beleive, community. I live in one.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.