Letter: Community Garden Park a Segment of Peace


My friend Tom Joliet invited me and a number of other people to attend a walking meditation event at the South Laguna Community Garden Park. It was completely open to the general public. That was the first time I spent any real time in that garden. In the middle of town, in the middle of traffic, in the middle of insanity, the community has carved out a little piece of Eden, a little bit of Nirvana. It’s so gorgeous because it’s not only that you’re surrounded by nature, but you’re surrounded by nature where everybody has their own energy, their own addition to it, their own expression of it. Everybody’s got their own little plot of land, and they grow everything from flowers to vegetables, anything they feel inspired to do. It’s palpable. You can feel the energy and the love that is put into that land daily, and that alone is gorgeous. Then on top of it, they invited a Buddhist monk. This man was so generous with his time that he literally left the community garden and hopped on a plane to India. He came and gave of his heart and soul and shared his wisdom. Then we did a ceremony with him in the most elegant, simple way, and it was affecting. 

That garden provides so much because when people get their hands into the earth, they help something grow. There’s something inside them that grows as well. The garden creates a gorgeous container for that to happen.

Tom told me that a whole community of folks started 14 years ago to build it. “It’s like if they have a barn raising and everybody gets together from the neighborhood, and they all put up the framework and build the barn…that’s exactly what happened in Southern California – in South Laguna Beach! Neighbors showed up to move boulders, pick up wood to build boxes, dig weeds, move the soil in, and build stairs. It’s been an amazing community network.”

It’s a little segment of peace. If you take a step outside of that garden, you’re in the cacophony of PCH. You go in, and all that becomes unimportant. The only important thing is the beauty the community has created, manifested, nurtured, and gardened. I’m just really awed by it. It’s a thing of beauty. Thank you again!

Greg Friedman, Laguna Beach

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