The Sharing Neighborhood

– Andy Wade –

plumb.2You don’t need to be an extrovert to have a sharing neighborhood, but it probably helps. For the last few years I’ve walked our dog past a beautiful plum tree. Every spring it’s filled with blossoms which turn to wonderful plums every fall. The previous owners of the house picked and used them all. Then, a couple of years ago, the house sold.

That first new fruit season I walked past the tree several times thinking, “I need to stop in and ask if they plan to pick those”. But I’m an introvert and the first season passed with no action on my part.

This year I watched closely as the plums ripened. The tree was loaded! I noticed some fruit on the ground and thought, “I need to stop in and ask if they plan to pick those”. But then, I’m an introvert…

Last week as our dog and I walked past I could no longer stand it. A woman was out front gardening so I walked up to her and asked. “oh, yes!” she replied, “We’ve been picking them nearly every day!” Then she quickly added, “But we can’t possibly use all of them, would you like to pick some?” “We’d love to!” I responded, practically spitting the words out of my mouth. “By the way, do you need any zucchini or chard, or kale, or tomatoes?” We have a lot we’d be happy to share.”

It was really a simple conversation. Easy enough, even for an introvert. When I returned with a bag of produce Lisa’s Partner, Mark, was in and we all had a good chat about gardening and preserving. Later that day they came by with two big bags of plums. My wife, Susan, and I showed them around the yard. They looked at our Little Free Library and we talked about quick, low-maintenance methods of sustainable gardening.

While I appreciate mutual sharing of garden abundance I think what’s even more amazing is discovering the abundant fruit of friendship, often left unnoticed and dangling from trees all over the neighborhood. This fruit is the sweetest of all and meant to be freely shared and enjoyed together.