As I walk around our neighborhood, I notice people have moved their chairs and patio sets to their front yards. Many of us are either not working or working from home. Some are retired, but group activities have halted. Kids are home all day. We are missing our work, social, recreational, and scholastic relationships. There are those amongst us who are lonely.
One of our wonderful volunteers, Linda Berry, sent us a video about a woman in Wales who noticed an elderly man sitting alone on a bench in a busy city center. People were passing by, immersed in their own worlds. She wondered if he wanted company. How many other people would like to visit with someone? She came up with the idea of tying a sign on a bench that read “Happy to chat bench”. Since then, chat benches have popped up in many places – there’s even one in Vancouver! In case you’d like to read about this idea – here’s the link: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-50000204 A bench: It welcomes us. It supports us. It is open to us. Not only does it provide us the opportunity of rest, but it also provides us the opportunity for connection. With our current times, many of us are needing to feel welcomed, supported, and connected to others even more than ever.
But what if you don’t have a front yard? Or maybe you’re looking for a change a scene? One of Acadia Community Garden & Art Society’s main goals is to foster a sense of community. We would like people to come and enjoy our space. Smell the blossoms and fruits on flowers, trees and shrubs. Walk around and check out what’s growing. Then, maybe, if you wish, take a seat on one of our benches or at the big picnic table. (Just remember, friends, social distancing still applies – 6 feet apart please!) And if you don’t feel like chatting, it’s totally fine to say, “I’m just here to enjoy the ambiance”. We want people to view our Garden as a space for sharing kindness, renewal and fun, but also to feel safe while visiting.
Speaking of the benches and tables. Here’s another fun thing for you all – the long picnic table (which we are looking after for the Acadia Community Association) and a bench are blank canvases, ready to inspire us. We want to hear from you. Would you like to see inspirational messages or pictures? Would like to have a message on the bench like “buddy bench”, “Let’s chat” or some other type of soothing, restful or uplifting message? Let us know what you think! What would you love to see?
See you at the Garden!