“[B]eing a member of a community isn’t about…how I feel about any place I have lived, nor about my fear of isolation in a new city. It is about the neighbor I choose to be in the community I wind up calling my home.”
–Arthur C. Brooks, from a 2018 NYT article entitled “How Loneliness is Tearing America Apart”

And that was pre-pandemic!

It’s citrus season here in Southern California. And one beautiful thing about my own neighborhood and environs is that people are leaving out baskets and baskets and bins and bags of fantastic oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons, free for the taking.

The front-yard gardens and flowers are foaming. The fragrance of roses, pittosporum, jasmine, iris, and sage drift through the streets. The haze on the San Gabriel mountains is from heat, not smog. People say hi and thank you for ceding the sidewalk so as to observe the six-feet rule.

My own garden continues to stun. The neighbors come to wander, sit, sniff, ooh and aah, make their own gardens.

I’ve put away the down comforter and taken out my summer nightgowns. The other day I made a pitcher of iced tea for the first time since September.



  1. Patricia Langer says: Reply

    How lovely. I haven’t yet put away my winter coat but it’s been several days since the boots have been called into service. Nevertheless the robins are in ecstasy in the front garden, the expanse of grass beneath my apple tree is blanketed with pale bluebells, there are hints of green leaves on the tree itself and the irises are coming up. No fragrances yet, but oh the thought of the perfume of citrus and jasmine!
    Here’s the best part … neighbours are straining their necks to peer over drainage ditches for just a glance of something poking through the ground, an early open bud, anything. We wave through windows and give each other a thumbs up in appreciation. We’ve even taken to venturing up driveways to get a better look when a neighbour is out, of course maintaining the two metre thing.
    There is a touching tenderness this Spring in how tentative and often wordless our appreciation of this greening and growing is being expressed. It’s embodied and rich with gratitude.

    Heather thank you for what you wrote. It gave me an opportunity to give thought and words to my experience in my own community.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Patricia, what a beautiful reflection on spring! I especially love the shared thumbs-up appreciation at the slightest sign of a bud, new growth, green…truly every human heart longs for the same things–thank you for this and I am setting out for my walk, on the lookout for citrus, soon!

  2. Patricia Langer says: Reply

    Thank you, Heather. I’ve been enjoying your tours and look forward to the tour of your desk.


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