Recently I was on an evening walk with my family. As we walked by Hunter Park, I saw an aluminum can laying on top of the bushes. Words immediately rushed into my head, “Hey, this is MY TOWN!” It was as if the infringement had occurred on my personal property; I was offended.
You see, nobody was going to pick up that can, but at that moment… I could.
This past month I witnessed a few amazing acts of citizenry and valor in Ashland which to me exemplify the highest and best of our community. These were actions of great people doing great things that could have otherwise gone undone.
First, I watched as a young family memorialized and said goodbye to their beloved three year old son Koa Nakai Markham. I saw an entire community of people step forth to witness and be present with his family in the process of deep and profound loss. I witnessed and heard how Laura Roe, a local homebirth midwife, was with the parents when baby Koa was born, and with the parents as they laid him to rest. Laura stepped forward to lead the memorial service, and in the true sense of the word, she was our community midwife.
Later that week I attended Ashland’s Chamber of Commerce “Greeters Meeting.” There I observed another act of citizenry;. the final planning of the 2012 July 4th parade. Who knew that more than 200 people volunteered to create this event? Once again I realized…
THIS IS MY TOWN!
All around the world a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility has been replaced with grand distraction. People have become occupied with their own personal troubles, agendas, and iphones, all the while missing the real opportunity at hand. The opportunity to live as active participants in the world around us. A world in which great loss and great celebration exist side by side. A world in which your actions can change people’s lives.
Finally I ran across a media interview of a 90 year old woman in Oakland, California. She had been mugged while entering a convenience store. A young man immediately ran out to assist her, first picking her up and then collecting her scattered items. He then asked her “Do you want me to take you to the hospital or do you want to go get that guy?” Her reply: “LET’S GO GET THAT GUY!”….and that is exactly what they did. Granny drove with the young man in hot pursuit of the assailant. She tracked him down, the young man jumped out of the car, and chased and tackled the thief. She then called the police.
This reminds me of the young man in Ashland who saw a midnight prowler looking into a neighbors window. He jumped up, ran out barefooted, pursed the individual several blocks, tackled him and held him in a headlock, while calling the police with his own cell phone.
We don’t always need to be nice here, but we do need to seize the opportunity to make a difference.
THIS IS OUR TOWN. One thing that has become very apparent to me is that great people create great communities. We live in one of those communities and I applaud you for choosing to be here. even if you’re just visiting us on vacation. ;)
Have a great month,
Shields Bialasik – Editor@LocalsGuide.com