This year, the dates set aside to gather in Phoenix coincided with the March for Our Lives. The family group marched alongside the new high school organizers. My own children had been demonstrating since they first learned to walk. Their uncle/cousin, who planned to watch baseball that morning, was moved to attend the march with the rest of the family. He had not previously been politically active. Especially in this news barrage of catastrophe and cruelty, he had been turned off by politics.
He may have imagined himself surrounded by the worst kind of angry, violent demonstrators. But here he was, with his mind changed about the people’s process. People of different and even same (but previously dismissed) backgrounds can find common purpose. Surrounded by so many people at the march in the purple state of Arizona, uncle/cousin was transformed. He felt the community spirit and may even vote for the first time in his life.
That’s what happens in community. That’s why I am renewed, revived in Transition groups: the spirit of working with other people, all of us taking up a small part in a big project is infectious.
We carry that spirit outward when we invite others to join us, when folks recognize the lawn we turned into a food forest, when someone brings a treasured item to be repaired and when someone shovels a swale into a public or private garden.
And what we seek in community is not just our familiar faces and traditions, but the growth that pushes out like little shoots from a plant. New, tender sprouts need water, sun and the gritty soil to move. Sometimes we need to be in places slightly, or not-so-slightly out of the ordinary to change into the the blooms we can be.