I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. The community we live in, the community some of us worship in, the community we work in, the global community that we join when in our case our daughter moves to Senegal to do work in the Peace Corps and introduces us to her “family” over there. There is the community that we become a part of when we share the same values, the same sense of justice and integrity and the cosmic community of critters and creatures we join as part of the natural world. We are all interconnected. We share the power to hurt and to heal, to grieve and to comfort, to laugh and to cry, to bless and to ignore.
This morning on my way to the barn to feed and let out the animals, I was dazzled by the birdsong. This glorious community of feathers and beaks is back. It is clear that the birds are not one bit fazed by snow showers and not so warm temperatures. The light has had its sway and swept them northwards regardless of less than perfect spring weather.
Yesterday I heard two pileated woodpeckers communicating with each other by tapping on tree trunks. Then with a huge flapping of wings these big birds took off, each in a different direction, their bright red top-knots aflame against the grey sky. This morning there were at least 12 fox sparrows on their way north poking the ground in search of food. The crow family, all five of them, were watching from one of our maple trees while chickadees, finches, siskins, white and red breasted nuthatches, ladderback and downey woodpeckers and the ever present cops, the blue jays, attacked the feeders. Only the cardinal couple had manners enough to wait their turn.
As for the community of barn dwellers, they are eager for snow melt. My little black goat, Daisy, has shed her wooly winter coat and looks and feels as sleek as a seal. The others are not far behind with little tufts poking out all over. They rear and butt heads, eager to get out to the fields, but still stuck in the paddock because of the snow cover. The chickens puff themselves out and click and cluck. Neither the goats nor the chickens are overly excited to get their feet wet. Mud is fine but cold wet snow not so fine. Didn’t think I would ever wish for mud, but this year earth would be a joy to behold.
In our community of Brooklin, we have managed to get through the Annual Town Meeting with hardly a cross word spoken. The discussions were at times intense but never hostile. It is a tribute to our elected officials to see a town work as well as our town does. Not that it’s perfect. We have had some issues this year that have deeply wounded members of this community. We are wary but brave enough to hope for a better way forward. Would that our Congress, both state and national, take a lesson about civility and neighborliness from our little town.
This community is also grieving the loss of our favorite café and meeting place, Sandy’s Provisions. But we are also giving thanks for all that this warm and fun loving little store gave to us. It has been a lynchpin for this community and has gotten us through a long, cold winter with its delicious hot soups and sandwiches, wine and cheeses, breakfast buddies, and its over the top lattes and cappuccinos. But more than anything, we have been gifted by the generous spirit and good humor of Sandy and David. Since we are in Eastertide and resurrection is at the center of it all, there are many of us who will continue to hope that Sandy’s will find a new home and begin a new life in a new space.
And speaking of spring, the Easter Bunny braved snow and cold temperatures to hide hundreds of eggs around the home of Molly and Eric Blake who treated the young and old of this community of friends to an Easter Sunday we will likely not forget. Tables laden with good food, good drink and the cutest darn curly lamp cakes anyone has ever seen were waiting for us after the hunt. Eric and Molly showed us what community means and just how much light we can generate by coming together to celebrate life and love and laughter.
I want to be a community that welcomes spring no matter that the snow showers continue and the temperatures are not rising as fast as we might like. Think of what we still have to look forward to. Feel the warm sun on your back, listen to the birds, count the magenta and green stalks of skunk cabbage along the roads, keep your eye out for vernal pools teeming with new life, watch the sun rise drip purple and gold light into the day. I give thanks for community, flaws and all, and feel blessed in knowing that so many have my back.