Sunday, April 12, 2015

Community Connection -Gifting

My connection to my local community is being reaffirmed every week now, practically every day. Having come from a rather cold, indifferent social situation, I still get warm feelings inside when I make connections. Going to town and greeting dozens of people I care about. Sharing....especially sharing. Sharing time, support, effort, joy, ......and gifts. And while this post is looking at gifting, make no mistake that gifts are only what community is all about. Heavens no, it's just one warm, fuzzy, small delightful piece. 

(Fresh homemade bread from an interesting friend.)

Much of my life I've lived where people generally didn't gift without cause. It had to be a special occasion where gifting was expected (birthdays, holidays, church donations, etc). Duty gifts, that's all they were. Seldom any feelings behind them. Gifts were also given in an attempt to gain favor or special services. Gifts to the boss, teacher, neighborhood police, your garbage man, the carpenter...whoever you wanted special care, attention, or favor from. 

(Jigsaw puzzles.....because my mom does puzzles every day.)

Also in that life, people usually kept their material items to themselves, hoarding them if not being used. If not wanted anymore, then they were sometimes sold or usually thrown away in the weekly trash. Oh boy, I still recall those happy days of trash picking in the wealthier neighborhoods. Those people threw away everything, even things still with price tags or in original packaging. Rather than gift it to some person or some organization, it went to the dump. The sense of sharing within a community was unknown. 

(Handmade tote bags & egg cartons, each from community friends.) 

My little community here is totally opposite. It took me a while to discover and develop it, but my community network is alive and well. And gifting without strings and obligation is part of it. In fact, gifting is often spontaneous, coming completely by surprise. 
(Pumpkins , yum! They gave me several, how wonderful.)

Since this sharing and gifting is not something I was raised with, I'm often not sure how to act appropriately. But I am trying. So I share my excess too and hope that the appreciation is mutual. 

(A large meat grinder, wow. I surely will be putting this to good use. I can't believe how fortunate I am.) 

An online person I've been following this past year has been Paul Wheaton. Based upon his permaculture philosophy, the concept of gifting surplus among community members is something he wholeheartedly supports and wants to establish himself. When I first heard him talking about it, I thought , "Oh sure, that ain't gonna work." But I eat my words, it CAN work. I get proof every week. The photos on the post entry are all gifts I received recently. So at least within a small community, Paul's idea of sharing surplus really can happen. 

(Fresh fruits from a good friend.) 

My grandmother often said that it was better to give than receive. As a child I never believed that nor understood what she was getting at. But I've finally caught on these past dozen years. It feels good to share. Everytime it's done I feel like another strand has been woven into my community web. Yes, it feels good, it feels right. I hope it continues. 


  1. I just wanted to say I love your blog. My SO and I are in the planning stages of moving to Big Island (we were just there for 16 days in September, 2014) and creating an off-grid homestead, so your blog is wonderful to read. Just letting you know you have a big fan out there :)


    1. Thank you. I hope the blog helps you in your move.

  2. Comment via email from Fineartgourds.......
    As an old time dumpster diver, have you experienced the wealthy who locked up their trash so it couldn't inadvertently be shared? A classic Marin County maneuver in the days before recycling became fashionable.... Then it became the thing to donate to a charity thrift. In 1988, one day I counted 28 in the phone book and set out to visit every one of them and found only five or six worth a return visit. Now rents are so high even for back alley dumps that the species has either died or become so pricey they aren't worth the effort.... Pity. I wonder if they have gone back to locking up their dumpsters? I'm getting too old to shinny over those damn redwood fences as well balance on my belly on the rim of the bins!