Sunday, April 17, 2011

When Things are Pretty for a Day

Yesterday we woke to gloomy rain the very day we were scheduled for our block group's annual Clean & Green, in which we roll out of our houses in grubby clothes and together clear the debris that's taken up residence on our blocks. This is no easy task. For those of you who have visited, you know the litter has become something of a character in the drama of our lives here in the neighborhood, and not a very nice one at that.

By the 10am start of the clean-up, the skies had cleared a bit, and household by household, people started emerging to lend a hand. Not every household, mind you -- and some of the worst offenders were unsurprisingly not to be found -- but it was great to see kids, new neighbors, and people I've never met before pitching in to make this a place that looks like it's cared for rather than an urban dumping ground. It's really something to look down the expanse of our blocks and see one green front yard after the next, unpolluted by fast-food bags and discarded beer bottles -- just spring perennials in bloom, trees coming back to life, and lawn decorations of every stripe.

Part II of yesterday, after a hot shower and hearty lunch, found John and I taking a three-block walk to the festivities of Record Store Day. This is a national annual event, and we were happy to see our local record shop, despite being a scrappy newcomer to the scene, participating with zeal. John was there when the doors opened at 9am, and he was hardly the first in line. He bought a bunch of special releases, and we spent the afternoon watching seven different bands playing for free. We haven't seen the store as packed with devoted customers since their grand opening a year or so back.

We put the day to rest over a pot of homemade ginger lentil soup, the perfect thing since the cold rain had returned by early evening.

So here's the thing: Today is a windy day, and we know that within an hour or so, litter will be blown from Fullerton Avenue right down our blocks and into our yards. But we also know that people may be more likely to pick up that random detritus, at least for a little while. And we also know that our little corner garden, which now has native perennials transplanted from five different households, is blooming again -- those flowers resilient despite a brutal winter and all the exhaust and smog of the city. And that's one of the more hopeful signs I can think of for what may lie ahead.


Berdawn said...

ah, the blossoming of of trash that the snow kindly keeps hidden is a herald of Spring in Weinland Park, too. It is only the last two or three years that our neighborhood clean up has included more residents than young people serving out their community service sentences but that is a great leap forward. Those few days without garbage are wonderful!

leslie said...

I am impressed! At your commitment, and your positivity, and your ability to cram in so much in one day.