This February has taught me one thing (among a few others) about this mission: I need to find a space in the flow of life in my neighborhood. It has been clear from the beginning of my time here in the mobile home park, my neighbors live very insulated and isolated lives. Many people in the larger Wauconda community hardly know Woodland Village is here, so my neighbors are relegated to their own corner of town. Yet they themselves stay very much apart, even from each other. I guess that isn’t terribly different from most neighborhoods these days, but being a self-contained neighborhood with little interaction with each other and the greater world is unhealthy and spiritually bankrupt. I need to break into that isolation and insulation in a non-threatening, life-giving way.
My idea is simple. I want to create an urban garden outside my front door. My barn apartment is centrally located. Everyone drives by it or stops to get their mail there daily. But it is ugly. White pealing paint mars the exterior and concrete spreads from it in all directions. I do feel very much like I’m in an urban area, despite being in a barn. I want to put flowers and possibly vegetables in pots along the sidewalk and on the area right behind my car which is marked off by bent poles protecting an old well. Sounds like a simple idea, but I need favor from the manager and the owners. I definitely need favor because I also want to find a plot of land in the neighborhood for a community garden.
The ethos of the management and (possibly) the owners is to let things go until they absolutely need to be repaired. This ethos is shared by many of my neighbors. It creates a vicious cycle of living from crisis to crisis. For my neighbors it is often due to a lack of funds to handle normal maintenance. While I won’t be asking anything of the management or owners that would seem to impinge on this ethos (all the work and materials would be supplied by me and my cohorts), I want to have freedom to make this garden a thing of beauty for the entire community. I want to put a couple of chairs out there for my enjoyment and for people to stop by and sit. My concern stems from this ethos as well as the push back I’ve had in a rigidity to some old ways of doing things and rules.
So please pray that I have favor for both my urban garden as well as the community garden. Pray that the manager does not say no before asking the owners, but that she sees the benefit to the property. Pray that the owners (a group of lawyers) sees the benefit in community development. Pray that this will help build relationships between myself, my neighbors, the community and the owners. Pray that donations for materials comes through. Pray for the plan and layout of the space.
I hope to create an oasis in the midst of this place open for all to stop and take a breath.
Here are some more before (current) pictures. The need is clear.