My new micro-commute is going swimmingly... or maybe that's "bicyclingly"? I've started riding my bike to work, a speedy 10-minute coast downhill in the mornings, an arduous 30-minute (cough cough LIAR!), ok, 35-minute (pants on fire) climb in the evenings.
Hey, I'm working on reducing that return time. Give me a few weeks already!
Since starting to commute by bike I've discovered something (besides the fact that hitting potholes unexpectedly really hurts your sit bones): my neighborhood is really active in the early evenings. I'd never noticed before because a) I didn't get home until close to 7:00 and b) we keep our cars in the garage off the alley. We never went out front.
As I rode up to my house the other day there were no fewer than 3 sets of neighbors working in their front yards. While I was chatting with various people, about 2-3 other neighbors came home from work. Everyone waved, or at least nodded to acknowledge our presence.
My front yard veggie garden has prodded me to spend more time out front than ever before. Two houses on my block have front yard veggie gardens and I've seen several more in the environs.
I've read that WWII victory gardens supplied some 40% of the country's food. The vegetable gardens that were ubiquitous during the war were abandoned when the war was over. So many people stopped gardening after the war ended that both the USA and England suffered food shortages in 1946.
What I've realized this week is the positive impact on our community of our individual gardening efforts. We're all getting to know each other rather well. We take breaks from our work and visit. We pass along leftover seeds and starts. We mow one another's lawns and look out for each other. We borrow tools. We share cooking and gardening tips, and commiserate about the perpetually unsupervised 5-year-old whose parents basically let her run feral.
I imagine that the summer bounty will bring us even closer together as a little community because we'll begin to foist our prolific zucchinis and lettuce on one another.
It feels so delightfully like retro 1940s suburbia. My neighborhood was built in the '20s. You could say that we've simply pulled out an old idea, dusted it off, and called it new again. It's called "neighborliness".
Who knew there were such great side benefits from being in front?