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Where the Music Takes You. Where Seeds Pass from Hand to Hand. Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Posted Jul 26 2009 10:17pm

Amon and Cina Sherriff from Pattie Baker on Vimeo .

This four-part story is about joy. The joy of connection, between friends who've never met in person, couples who meet again after raising a family, generations that pass the diversity of civilization from hand to hand, and strangers who simply find each other and dare to create something new.

Part 1

It starts at my local health food store. Amon Sherriff works there and he and I can get to talking for up to an hour when I go in to buy local honey (he called me The Honey Lady for ages before he learned my name). My older daughter and her friend consider the health food store their "go-to" place when they go for weekly walks, and they now have their own relationship with Amon.

Well, turns out Amon and his wife Cina have a music group with seven of their children called A Family Affair, where they talk about and demonstrate a wide variety of traditional African instruments. However, the seven children are now grown and have moved on and so the latest performance of A Family Affair brought it back down to two. Just two. The two who had started it all. (Watch the 23-second video clip above and see the power of their connection.)

As I sat there on the picnic blanket watching them with my husband, our older daughter currently sleeping tentless, far away, in the Nantahala Forest and our younger daughter nearby jumping from rock to rock in the creek, I tried to imagine that day for us, too, when the kids are gone and it's back down to the two of us. That day is not so distant anymore. And now, I will carry this memory of Amon and Cina and the joy between them, and aspire to that.

Part 2

Several days later, a package arrived in the mail. From Australia! (Thank you, Kate and Maggie!) My younger daughter opened it excitedly and found koala bear and kangaroo napkins plus a documentary about seedsaving, filmed across eleven countries with twenty tribal groups.

I watch a lot of documentaries about farming and gardening but I only report on the ones that I LOVE. And THIS I LOVE! I was moved not only by the amazing diversity of food that people are growing and saving from generation to generation, but the incredible joy I see in people's faces. I have a lot of fun in my life, but in all honesty, I'm not sure it comes close to the joy these folks experience. Take a look at the trailer for this film below. The actual film absolutely enveloped me with joy, as well as an overwhelming desire to add more community celebration to my life.

Part 3

And so that brings me to the next big news. It appears as if our community garden is going to happen, in time for fall planting! Extraordinary things are happening on a daily basis relating to this garden. People are literally dropping out of the sky to make it all work. A convergence of the world's energy has apparently zoomed in on a little spot past the dog park, across the street, where the sidewalk ends (here is the update on this effort, and another, as posted on Sustainable Dunwoody). The tagline for this amazing place has written itself: "Where the sidewalk ends, community grows." And, yes, of course, this evokes the famous Shel Silverstein poem, the first stanza of which goes
Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

And so, I'd like to introduce Rebecca to you, a woman I didn't know a month ago, a woman whose joy is contagious, and a woman who could not have imagined at that time that this was the next step on her journey

Introducing Citizens for The Dunwoody Community Garden from Pattie Baker on Vimeo .

Part 4

The last part is about you. How will you find joy today? In music? In seeds? In people? Go. Go where the music takes you. Where seeds pass from hand to hand. Where the sidewalk ends. And see what happens.
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