This I Believe

Fleet - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on August 11, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

Community is what I believe in. I have come to it late.

We moved here nine years ago. Our immediate neighbors came over for introductions. That was day one, when it began.

We had arrived from southern Florida. There, a next door neighbor who had said not one word in six years. The other spoke two years later.

This house backs on to a dry creek plain, as do the neighbors homes. Faces south, as do theirs.

The plain averages sixty yards across, goes a quarter mile either direction, east / west.

It was unkempt, had splintered trees, was choked with brush, greenbriar, weeds…

It was city land , we were told, the floodplain .

Except the city didn’t visit it often.

I asked neighbor Rudy Delado for an OK to start pruning. Rudy’s lived in the neighborhood longest.. He said yes.

Then came weed whacking , cutting, hauling

.

I worked the area behind his house after mine because he encouraged, appreciated it.

He was teaching me how to do community.

My other neighbor helped too.

Within a year, behind our houses looked better.

Red Shouldered hawks nested in the Oak. We watched their cycle: nest building, hatch, to seeing junior squawk

A year after, walking east, I noticed three others homes had begun pitching in.

A patchwork of cleaned spaces.

A year after that, half of the families along the creek east and west had turned-to.

We never spoke , sometimes waved while mowing.

.Many people walked the trail. Saw what was going on. They understood community.

I was learning.

Then, one day all 5.5 acres was done . The care showed. Slow and sweaty, but it had happened. Became again the place it always was.

It struck me fundamentally that this happened without anyone ever having said anything to anybody else. The willingness and work came from a community.

I wanted to preserve it, to keep dirt bikers and destructive ATV’ers out.

They were a problem. It was a no- brainer that none of us wanted the place desecrated.

People , babies in strollers walked there. Potentially dangerous, capitol D.

Restored trees prevented clear sight lines .

Spoke with some people I knew . Met them at a National Night Out.

The community was supportive.

We discovered that the land belonged to the two associations that backed onto it. The two groups had jointly bought it. It was ours.

I became a board member in our association.( Then too ….anyone can…)

I have lived all over this country and had never made any commitment in any community.

Now I have seen community , a tangible reason

This green space is gated, signed, and cared about…by a community.

We are “shown” community. Then it’s up to us.

This I believe.