Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Creating Our Own Small-Town America in the Big City—We Can Make It Happen!

I cherish the block I live on, along with my neighbors, because we have created a small-town haven amidst what others deem “the crime and corruption” of life in a major city, compared with life in the suburbs. True, there are neighborhoods here which aren’t safe, as there are in all major cities, but people tend to generalize big cities, or even particular streets within them, as being “crime-ridden,” when in fact there are many areas in those cities, or along vast stretches of those streets, where it has been proven that it’s safe to walk alone at night, and everyone who lives there sincerely cares about each other. We feel as if we’re living in small-town America.

Just as an example: Because the weatherman had forecasted rain later in the day, and the likelihood of snow during the upcoming week, all of us were out raking our leaves today. I couldn’t help reveling in the glory of it all. Besides the many hues of the leaves themselves—copper, orange, crimson and yellow—the very air was golden. There was a soft swish as we swept the leaves into piles, and an earthy scent as we scooped them into our bags and crushed them down.

Several young neighborhood boys had been taking turns pulling each other up and down the sidewalk in a wagon, when we saw a fire engine quietly driving towards our block, returning to the nearby station. Immediately a cry went up: “Fire truck coming!” The boys and we adults waved as the truck went past us, and the firemen inside waved back. Then one of them leaned out the window and called out, “Why don’t you kids help rake the leaves?” Seconds later, the boys were racing toward their parents to get rakes, and soon were taking up the fireman’s suggestion—reminiscent of Tom Sawyer’s fence-painting ploy.

Perhaps the best example of life on my block: We all chip in for a permit to block off our street and hold block parties—setting up grills, tables and chairs in the middle of the street, and bringing an array of food—not only on “National Night Out,” but during the spring and fall. During some winters, one of the neighbors often invites everyone over for a “soup party,” and we’ll share a couple steaming pots of soup, along with wine, cheese and crackers.

This didn’t just magically happen. One of my neighbors instigated our camaraderie, someone who was willing to take the time to make up flyers and put them in our mailboxes, and leave a contact phone number. After that another neighbor joined her quest, and now we all partake under their leadership.

If you aren’t fortunate to have a “small-town America” on your block, I urge you to create one. Most people today are so impersonal and isolated, they often don’t even know their next-door neighbors’ names. All it takes is dropping off a note in all your neighbors’ mailboxes along with your phone number, and if they’re interested, they’ll help you make the dream a reality. The instigators on my block, and my neighbors as a whole, have made my life richer and fuller, so that now, every time I pull into my driveway, I’m truly glad to be back where I belong—on “my block” back home.

5 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That's a significant achievement and an important one.

11/12/2005 6:13 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I so agree.

11/12/2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

I agree with anvilcloud too! i have pretty cool neighbors on my street and its nice.

11/15/2005 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Darlene,

As a witness to all that you recorded, I think you captured the feel of life in our St. Paul block. If not for the modest effort of getting the ball rolling, we might have never gottten past "hi". I encourage others to be the catalyst on their block.

11/20/2005 6:32 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Todd, I'm so grateful to you and your family for being one of the instigators. What we neighbors have gained as a result--well, that's the meaning of a good, fulfilled life. Thanks!

11/20/2005 9:34 AM  

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