A few nights ago I enjoyed the simple, silly pleasure of riding in the back seat of new friends’ shiny red “Beemer” convertible. We laughed about boys and their toys.
On July 4 I wrote in my journal; toys I miss: my color printer, my sewing machine and my fabric stash. Later the next door neighbors Gary and Glen, invited us to play with chalk on our front sidewalks. Gary and I talked about his measured, colorful geometric patches and Glen shared pictures of a quilt he sewed for a family member’s wedding present. As we talked about quilts I shared that I missed my sewing machine. Glen asked did I want one of his? When I responded with grateful glee he immediately went into the house and brought one out, with a bag of fabric pieces and a package of colorful thread!
In her book The Third Chapter, Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot writes about crossing boundaries. I’m living in paradox here. I am part of a privileged group of people; college and graduate level educated. I am looking out on Lake Michigan from our shared upstairs apartment in an expensive resort area, writing on my own personal lap-top, enjoying internet services via wifi. My income is “poverty level.” Shared-housing and a sense of community for me and my house-mate is not a lark, it is necessary.
And we are not alone.
The poverty gap between women and men widens significantly between ages 18 and 24—20.6 percentof women are poor at that age, compared to 14.0 percent of men. The gap narrows, but never closes, throughout adult life, and it more than doubles during the elderly years.*
Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot writes in her book The Third Chapter …the need for cherishing is particularly critical to adults (over 50) where the confluence of cultural ambivalence, social prescriptions, institutional norms, and stereotypes of aging conspire to undermine people’s courage and spirit of adventure. …with less caring and support, we are less likely to be open to learning or to engage ourselves in society in new ways…
I’m cherished by family and friends. A few weeks into study I am clear that my interest in “permaculture” is as a way of living – a culture – more than a way of gardening. Cherishing from birth to grave would do a lot to change this culture – this garden we are all in together.