This past few months at The Garden has seen some big changes. New people of all ages have joined the community, and others have left to move on to new opportunities and challenges. In July we said a sad ‘goodbye and come back soon’ to our learning mentors Amy and Rosena. This was a big step with big feelings for everyone involved and we all looked ahead with excitement and some trepidation to see what moving on would look like. We’ve been lucky enough to keep Amy (who’s been a part of The Garden since it was just a glint in some idealistic eyes) as a vision holder, and she’s always on hand for us to bounce ideas off and to give us the benefit of her experience.
Bon and Lucia joined The Garden in September as the new mentors, as did lots of new children. Together with the experienced community members we began the process of settling in and getting to know one another.
Spending your days in a community is not always easy. Giving genuine time and space to everyone’s needs (including your own) equally can feel strange when you’re not used to it. It takes time for people to realise they don’t have to fight to be heard; or that there’s always a place for them; or that their feelings are valid and important - even when they’re not pretty. Its very comforting to know that, whatever your process is, its accepted.
Day to day, the running of The Garden hasn’t changed too much. Each member is equal, with equal rights to, put forward ideas, be heard and make decisions. We start every day with a meeting to share our needs and feelings and do any planning for the day. Community members often use this as an opportunity to propose games or activities, locate any resources they need and check things like wood supplies.
Our Autumn, especially in the run up to Christmas/Yule, was been quite focused on performing. Our stage (painted rainbow for the arts trail event) needed to be timetabled so that all the various performance groups had a chance to practice! The people who came to our end of year celebration got a tiny taste of what some of us have been working on.
Dungeons and Dragons has also been a popular feature recently. You’d be amazed the different skills involved in creating a D&D character, let alone writing and running a campaign! Everyone involved has been tested to the limit, and we’ve learned a lot about resilience and the need to take breaks (and what ‘a break’ actually is).
During our last meeting before the Christmas break we looked back over this last year with gratitude for what we have, what we’ve made and for one another. And we looked forward into 2019 with thoughtful optimism and hope for the seeds we’ve planted together.