Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-Out: Town Plaza

Friday My Town Shoot-Out is a sharing of views of our communities. This week's theme is Town Plaza, chosen by Redlan, in the Philippines.

Ohio University - the focus of many in our town. In fact our town of eight thousand swells by twenty thousand every autumn to accommodate the large undergraduate body. The green, where these worn clogs (worn by my husband, a graduate student), should maybe serve as the town's plaza, the center of its livelihood, but the truth is my family has crossed its tree-lined paths only a handful of times, and never in what I would call community. It is more a through-way than a gathering spot for most of the local community.
I almost passed on this week's theme. I immediately thought, our town has no town plaza! No meeting place! No gathering place, no crossroads, no center. It was a depressing thought and I avoided it all week. It wasn't until I was contemplating my single-parent weekend before me, and found myself figuring out the bus (as we are also carless this weekend) so that we could keep our almost religious date with the Farmer's Market, that it hit me. We do have a center. Maybe, if such a thing is possible, a few small centers around which the community we have made here gather. I was out with a friend last night, and as I greeted people I knew in the crowd, she exclaimed, "where did you meet all these people??" - she sounded a bit frustrated, having lived here just as long as I have. It was here, at the Farmer's Market.

It's a place where familiar faces greet us every week, where we check in on each others' health, families, crops...
Where lettuces and generations mingle...
Where my children stroll as if they belonged, which they most certainly do.
Even in the winter, bundled up and playing pirates in the apple farmer's truck.
Food is a good community maker, and in lieu of a plaza, our family has found not only the market, but also the community gardens, to be a gathering of the people, plants and dogs of our town.

We commune with the compost, and greet the vegetables.
We pause to watch bike polo, or a game of cricket, or to swap stories and zucchini with another gardener.The center of our garden calls us even in winter, where the only beings to visit are the lingering kale and some ground coverings.

The new "town plaza" isn't always where you might imagine it to be...

8 comments:

Kerry said...

This is so true. Here in the US our towns haven't necessarily been constructed around a classic plaza, and meeting places tend to be something else. Your farmer's market fits the definition perfectly and you have illustrated it beautifully with these photos!

{Simply} Heather said...

I enjoyed this visit very much and your photos shine with appreciation. That first one really was a nice welcome for me.

Harold B Photography said...

Very creative! My town also has no central plaza or gathering spot, but the farmers market was a great idea.

Stephanie said...

Mmmmmm, just look at all that warm weather deliciousness....

Pauline said...

Wonderful! I love your generations meeting and children strolling. A Farmers Market is a great definition of a community gathering place. I enjoyed your post very much!

Jama said...

We don't have any farmer market, just ordinary everyday marketplace near my home.We have very small land for farming, and we get most of our greens from our neighbour country.

SOL said...

Great shots. I must say though that your banner shot is absolutely wonderful--the cat and the heart, I just really love it!

GingerV said...

nice shoot-out and yes as times change how/why we 'go to town' changes. I pull a photo for the spotlight feature.... not my favorite with is the children communing with the vegetables... but the one that show people milling around the market.... I also liked very much the 'different generations'