We’ve resolved to write when we can, about what we can, plainly. Otherwise, we won’t write at all, just like we haven’t. I will also try not to self-edit too much. That is what usually makes me not even bother. I have always appreciated the way that Dorothy Day kept record of what was going on in her community. Even if she only had a few spare moments to write what she did, read, or was thinking about, it all pieces together to create a picture of what life was like then and there.
On Saturday we had Open Shop at the bike shop. Open shop is when people come in to repair their bicycles, purchase used parts, or volunteer to earn shop credit. It is our busiest day. We help more people during Open Shop than at any other time. It also can be very stressful during warm weather, when it is full to the brim with people who need your help. Often times it feels like we simply “get through” these hours, barely, and try not to let ourselves be overcome by frustration and stress so much that it controls us– our communication, our presence. I felt overcome several times on Saturday. I believe in Franklinton Cycleworks, I just don’t know how to get past this vast gap of homegrown volunteer project to non-profit that employs people. We cannot do this much longer without receiving payment. We are too financially poor, too stretched for time, and too tired.
There are not just complaints at all, though I will admit those usually come to my mind first about anything. I am ashamed of that, truly. Some days I have to meditate to find the meaning and joy. Once I do, it is like discovering a hidden room of gold and jewels– abundant and rich. It requires intentionality, though. When I lose track of this, I feel like I am in trouble, spiritually, mentally, and perhaps even in other regards. Ryder is a great partner for me, it is not as difficult for him to see meaning.
I just made a small meal in the skillet of red potatoes, yellow peppers, and fresh rosemary. It is delicious.
One night this weekend, Ryder, Jy and I went to the Milestone 229 patio. It was truly relaxing and with a beautiful view. They are almost finished constructing the Town Street bridge, which will connect Franklinton to Columbus. This will be the third bridge between Columbus and its near west side. We have been isolated for so long it has seemed, and I wonder what it will be like in our neighborhood to be so accessible. Will it change things? Things by the river are already changing. Bars, warehouses, houses being renovated. New people and cultures merging. City says it is good. Displacement of residents against their will is truly disappointing. But when I am honest about my desires, I would like stores and bars in East Franklinton, or anywhere in Franklinton. Too often we are leaving our neighborhood for things we need. So I am also happy. It is too bad that these places will not be run by Franklintonites. How does one facilitate or participate in that transition? Few to no residents could buy a property, renovate it, and offer to fill our neighborhood’s voids. This is the conversation we have had over and over again for 4 years now.
My birthday was last week. I am 25 now, which seems old, despite my being one of the youngest in our community. I always thought, when I was younger, my life would look different at 25. I am very thankful that it looks the way it does. Looks like piles of front shoes by the door, piles of bikes in the foyer, mismatched burlap sacks sewn together as curtains, house plants. These are just things of course, but what they say is: We are all here together, engaging with each other and our surroundings, coming and going, using whatever resources we can piece together, working hard, and loving each other.
I signed Rosali’s birth certificate today. One of our community’s newest members, and I was present at her birth. Actually, Graciela and I were in the next room, telling stories to each other and trying to overcome fear of the unknown. But then Mateo bumbled into the room, “Girl, girl, girl!” I took Graciela’s hand and she bravely decided to enter the birthing room with me. The Leahy family snuggled all together on the bed as the midwives wrote notes. Then, forever passed, which also felt like no time at all, and the kids helped to cut the umbilical cord. The placenta, all spread out on a cloth, captivated all of us. I was blown away by how normal it all seemed, and yet also completely transformative.
Speaking of normal, time to switch the laundry and pay some bills.