February 13 and the crocuses are already in bloom, white and purple petals in stark contrast to the dingy lawns I pass as I walk with the dog. Snow threatens. And yet, it's still unseasonably warm. Music blasts from a car with Maryland plates. A man driving a van bearing the advertisement "Equestrian Dentistry" turns around in a driveway, obviously lost.
Of the few people I encounter on my walk, I recognize nobody.
Nobody says hello.
There was a lot of talk in last night's State of the Union address about getting our nation back on track by growing the economy; by bringing jobs back to our nation. But I wonder: How much growth is too much? At what point will more economic growth just lead to obesity? When will we learn to say enough? And when will we stop looking to big business to fill us with what we're missing?
Because we're not missing that pair of leather boots or the latest iPod. What we're missing is community. When we invest--emotionally and financially--in a local community, community grows. The economy grows. When I order eggs from my local farmer; when I buy purses from a girl just starting up her business; when I pick up my produce at my local CSA, community grows, and I am the better for it. By knowing the people who produce what I consume, I am enriched. I appreciate the value of their work.
The dog tugs me around the corner, eager to head home. A little girl no older than three stands inside her door. She wears thick striped tights, a green fairy skirt and a pink shirt. She looks at me and waves.
I smile and wave back.
And as I reach home, the snow begins to fall. A hawk glides in for a soft landing in the oak in my front yard.
Today, I will accept the gifts life offers: A hawk. The beginning of a snowstorm. Hope for community in the wave of a child.
That is enough.
That is more than enough.