I am part of all that I have met.  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Community has been called a “unified body of individuals”.  This seems appropriate given today is Memorial Day, and given the recent events over the last few days in my life.  On my birthday, last Thursday, I received so many birthday wishes it was overwhelming and filled my heart and soul with joy.  A wonderful body of friends, gardening friends, family, neighbors. extending their wishes to me.  My family called and it was a great day playing in the garden and resting.

On Friday night, my next door neighbor’s house was hit by lightning.  Thank God they were not home and there was no fire.  While they have damage it is not as bad as it could have been.  The lightning exited on the side facing our house and we were urged to check our basement.  We found indeed it had traveled through the ground and went into our basement and ended at our ground wire.  Again no damage for us just very unnerving.  The neighborhood has been extending their friendship to our neighbors and helping them in whatever way they can.  One neighbor is a contractor and he sealed up the hole in the roof line for them already.  We certainly can come together in the face of tragedy, but my street is like this anyhow; friendly, helpful and we love a good get together.

If you have never heard a lightning strike, it is a heart pounding explosion.  It shakes your ground and goes right through you.  It woke me out of  dead sleep.  We had no idea it was right next door.  The words, “there but for the grace of God” are all too real.  Then I think of all the lives lost recently to the tornadoes in the midwest and south especially those I know who have loved ones missing or have lost loved ones, and it is again all too real for me since growing up in Indiana and coming a little too close to this type of tragedy too often.  The sense of community, the outpouring of help from people all over the world and in this country is monumental.

Phil Dykeman

Today is a day of remembrance for all in our Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives for us.  I take it to heart and think of it as all in service who have perished giving their lives for us.  You name the service it really can mean anyone as far as I’m concerned.  For one neighbor, Phil, it has meant his life protecting us.  He was killed in the Iraq War in 2008 before I met him and his beautiful family who moved in across the street soon after he died.  His wife and 3 children go on now without him, but they have a great community behind them of friends and family.  They have become friends and we cherish them.

My Uncle Harry (my dad’s brother) was in three wars; WWII, Korea, Vietnam.  He won accommodations, Purple Hearts etc , but never talked about it.  Never thought of himself as a hero.  When he died in 2002, I went to his funeral in Arlington.  It was one of the most emotional, humbling and amazing things I ever witnessed; you get the sense of the sacrifice all around you at Arlington.  And he was treated with such honor.  It was just after 9/11 and the ceremony faced the bombed out portion of the Pentagon.  It was very unnerving to be on an airplane so soon after 9/11 and then to see the bombed out building well that certainly added to the emotions.  To actually witness it so soon after and not just in pictures or on the TV.  I think it drove the point home even more.

It is truly amazing to me how we can come to together in the face of tragedy; in a time of need.  We unite as a community for the common purpose to help one another in the face of adversity.  We are part of a group whose strength and purpose brings assistance to those in need.

So on this Memorial Day weekend, I am grateful for my community.  I think of this community as a larger family joined on this Earth to live together peacefully; connected in ways we may never know.  My community of gardening friends I have never actually met who support me daily; my neighbors who laugh and cry together and are there when you need them; my friends who wish me well and join in my joys and not so joyful days and my wonderful family who give me love everyday of my life.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
–   Rachel Carson

Special Note: The flowers pictured here all mean remembrance–forget-me-nots, gladiolus, poppy.  They are from my garden and I lovingly plant these flowers in remembrance for all in my community worldwide who have given their life in service to others.

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  1. Cathy says:

    Donna, what a wonderful post!

    Our home was struck by lightening on June 30, 2003 (amazing how the date of something like that stays with you LOL), and you described the experience better than I ever could. We took a direct hit on the box where the electrical, cable, and phone lines come into the house. The box caught fire and melted, but we have stone fiber siding and the place where the wires entered the house was calked with fireproof caulking, so we had no fire. But the electronic brains of every appliance were fried. It was an expensive afternoon; lightening strikes aren’t covered by insurance around here unless they cause a fire!

    How wonderful to remember a hero you never met yet a family you support following his loss. We’ve never supported this war but we support our soldiers unwaveringly, and we, too, have nine we are remembering today.

    Bless you, Cathy

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Cathy…sorry to hear that you went through the horrific experience of a lightning strike and it wasn’t covered…that only adds to the injury…I am a peaceful person and do not like conflict or war, but like you support our brave men and women who defend us. I will be sure to read your post today…bless you too!!

  2. Sheila Read says:

    What a thoughtful post. I like what you said about community. Community is what gives meaning to our lives. To me it’s even broader than the human community and includes the creatures we share the earth with and even the water, the air, the soil. And plants, of course!

    I love the Rachel Carson quote. She puts things so beautifully.

    And happy belated birthday!


    • Donna says:

      Thx Sheila. It has been an eventful weekend and I have not been reading blogs for days. Need to get back to it, but the garden calls again what with all the weeding….I agree the community is larger than the human community and that is why I added Rachel’s quote..glad you liked it!!

  3. Donna says:

    This was a very thoughtful and meaningful post. Community is what our country was built upon, that and the sacrifices those made to keep us free and safe. I fully support the members of our armed forces and when I see them in our area, I thank them for their brave service. It is the least I can do to say how thankful I am and wish them to be safe and sound.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Donna. For me, my parents and grandparents sacrifices meant so much. We seemed to have lost that as time has gone on, but we have to focus on community and the especially our armed forces.

  4. b-a-g says:

    Donna – With families often spread far apart these days, community becomes even more important. So glad you’re OK after the scare and surrounded by supportive neighbours.

    I’m getting into the habit of making myself a nice cup of tea with a biscuit on the side before sitting down to read your about-life-posts on a Monday. I also read your life lessons post for Walkabout Chronicles. It’s such a shame that you didn’t find the confidence to write earlier for fear of failure. Anyway, there’s no stopping you now!

    • Donna says:

      You are so sweet…I love the vision of a cup of tea and a biscuit…I am glad you are enjoying the posts…I have so many drafts started and wish I could write more often. I do so love it…right now I am headed back outside to hot sunny skies and a mess of weeds that need pulling in the front yard!!

  5. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    How wonderful that your neighbourhood pulls together. Our own is rather fractured and individualistic, though I might be pleasantly surprised were there to be a need such as lightening strike. So glad to hear you and yours are safe despite the fright. Easy to forget, in the midst of arguments about the pros and cons of various armed conflicts that it is real men and women, husbands, mothers, sons, who die to keep the rest of us safe. Thank you for making me think – as always!

    • Donna says:

      Since I love when things make me think, I also am glad when my posts make people think…I believe having relatives in wars made us grow up with a different perspective on giving service….it really hit home again when my new neighbor died and left behind his family…

  6. The Sage Butterfly says:

    Very well said! I think when we have experienced a traumatic event all the stuff that usually gets in the way is set aside to come together. Last December, a neighbor’s house burned to the ground…it was accidental. Many of us felt so sad for the family especially since it was just a few weeks prior to the holidays. There was a great outpouring of support and gifts for the family. In some way, that was a great Christmas gift for all of us…to come together in compassion and support.

    • Donna says:

      Amazing how we bond in a tragic situation…happening all too frequently this spring with the severe weather…let’s just say I barely slept the other night when we had another bad lightning storm…how awful to lose ones home which was one of the good things that happened for our neighbor…everyone is safe and the repairs can be done; the house is liveable…

  7. Stacy says:

    Donna, thank you for this. I tried to make yesterday more of a thoughtful Memorial Day than usual, not just an excuse for a long weekend, and found myself torn–on the one hand opposed to armed conflict in general but on the other full of respect for the commitment and accomplishments and sacrifices of our soldiers and their families. Thank you the reminder that they are our friends and neighbors. In the meantime, here’s to the day when we (as humans in general) can expand our idea of community beyond national borders…

    • Donna says:

      Here, here Stacy…it is what I do hope for as well…I am glad the post spoke to you…it is quite an internal conflict for me too.

  8. Karla says:

    Wow, what a heartfelt post. And I love your photos and text about the flowers. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never had a home struck by lightening but it has struck some trees right outside my house–you’re quite right in your description of it! Beautiful job with this!


    • Donna says:

      Thx Karla and I am so glad you could visit…lightning is a scary beast of Mother Nature so anytime you have been close to a strike it certainly can keep you wary…glad you enjoyed the post

  9. Marcia Richards says:

    Donna, a beautiful post in honor of a sense of community. Our personal community can be expanded from our neighborhood to all those in our lives, as you explained, and should be remembered along with those special people who have given everything to protect our country, community and freedoms. Thanks.

  10. Jean says:

    This is a very moving post, Donna. I particularly appreciated the quote from Rachel Carson. Those of us who garden are very fortunate to have ready access to the comforts of the circle of life and to plant community ecosystems as models for human communities.

    • Donna says:

      Jean, When I read Rachel Carson’s quote it just fit so perfectly and spoke to me….I am glad it also spoke to you…I love your perspective!

  11. debsgarden says:

    Thank you for a moving and thought provoking post. I am glad you and your neighbors were not harmed by the lightning strike! I have always been impressed by how caring people are and by how even strangers will reach out in our time of need. It makes me feel the responsibility to ‘pay it forward’. And we may never know how much even small gestures mean.

    • Donna says:

      Deb I am so glad you liked it…I had planned a completely different post but after the events of the weekend, I was moved by higher forces to write what was in my heart…those are the best posts by far…

  12. Masha says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. We should think about war veterans more often.

    The lightning strike must have been a scary experience. I am very happy to hear both you and your neighbors were spared.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Masha…it was an experience we shall not soon forget..we have since had a couple more bad storms and needless to say we did not sleep well…

  13. tina says:

    Your words about your community makes me want to move there. My community down here is not like that at all. It’s a very divided community and this is most frustrating to me-against the military. Most odd. I’ve never heard a lightening strike but I can imagine the fear. So glad your neighbors were not home and there was no damage to your house. That contractor neighbor who sealed the hole is a great guy indeed. I love all of your posts for the personal touches you put into them. They are all so real. Many thanks for all who have sacrificed for our freedom including Phil.

    • Donna says:

      Tina I am so glad you like the personal touches I put in…it is odd and sad that your community is divided over the military…I am not for war but I will always support our military….

  14. dona says:

    Your post touched me. We often forget how important communities are. So thanks for reminding and a special thought to all the people recently hit by severe weather there in U.S.A.

    • Donna says:

      Dona I am glad you liked the post and thank you for your sweet thoughts for the thousands touched by the severe weather we have been having 🙂

  15. Jack says:

    As always I find your comments well thought out and sincere. Enjoy reading them. In response to your comments on art in the garden that you sent to me, for me art is one sure way of revealing oneself because it is so personal in taste. Keep find your pieces wherever you can, I do the same. Many bring back great memories of the discovery, placement, etc. Your garden and mine are unique to us, yet are universal in the appreciation we have of what is about us and what brings life. I’ll check in again. Jack

    • Donna says:

      Jack I am so glad you visited and I love your perspective on art in the garden…thx for visiting and come back anytime…..

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