Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taking back our green spaces............

We're on a mission

I'm on a mission to take back open spaces that resembles a smile with missing teeth.
Withing a two block stretch in my community I counted four vacant lots that have blighted our main corridors for years?

Blight in any neighborhood signals that folks don't care which leads to unhealthy consequences on many levels in my experience. Apathy is a horrible thing and as a landscape designer I've been thinking of ways I could inspire a movement for change!

I suppose it started with a pocket park I helped to create around the corner from my house. The vacant space was a haven for illicit activity, dumping, graffiti and a general sense of hopelessness.
Working with the owners of the property, City Council Office and the City Planning Office,  I designed a garden that represents pride of ownership in the neighborhood!

So I'm thinking how can I create a movement to green up more vacant lots???  It will take a showing of hands, literally!  Set to launch for Earth Day 2011,  I will launch Operation Reconstruction which plans an all out assault on vacant open spaces starting with my community! I'll keep you all posted...We've got work to do!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Turtle and The Mountain

I ventured off my usual course while walking Willow today. I recalled a street in my neighborhood where there were a number of houses that time stood still, a kind of authentic  Old School way of beingness.  I made that word up because it just fits the visual and the essence of  one of my neighbors, Mr. Kameyama.  He shares that  Kame means turtle and Yama  means mountain.
Sr. Kameyama  arrived on  mainland Hawaii in the later part of the eighteenth century from Japan and ultimately moved Concord California  where the Sr. Kameyama was employed by wealthy landowners.
My neighbor Mr. Kameyama grew up in special quarters for hired help with his own daily  responsibilities.
He told me that he would help with the breakfast in the mornings by milking the cows and gathering the eggs.

He attended what he described as a three room school house in the afternoons and in the evening after chores one of the mistresses of the house would teach him english.

Today  he laments he has little time for the garden since his wife passed away last October. They were married 66 years. The couple moved to his home in Jefferson Park in 1948 from Concord California.
No doubt he will share more of his life with me on future walks. I look forward to it.
A sturdy man of 93, Mr. Kameyama walks three miles a day, changing routes on certain days.
He says he looks forward to visits from his grandson who cheers him up!

You never know when you wake up each day what's going to happen that will change your perspective in a good way.

Mr. Kameyama  shows  me another layer of the wonders of culture and human nature, right here in my own neighborhood! Oh, he thought Willow as pretty cool, he thought she was a Beagle, I shared  that she is a Tri-colored Coon Hound.