I , like many of us, I'm certain, use the word "Community" daily as an expression of our essence.
A recent exchange with a neighbor brought me to question what I actually mean when I use the word and evoke a concept which I find very rich. Though the meaning of "community" can be multi-layered and faceted, i am speaking here of the community of villagers I live with, that of all the visitors to our town and , in a wider-yet sense, the community of all the people who appreciate children, babies, family life and all that make it rich and worth-living for, including our special friends, dogs.
The said neighbor and his wife have been bringing their two small dogs to the lawn by the Apothecary. Twice a day, for several months, I witnessed these two caring, friendly folks allowing their dogs to relieve themselves on the lawn, brightly colored plastic bag in hand to pick up the poops. Indeed they, along with many visitors to the third St. Green, are well prepared; they pick up, bag up and discard their dogs's waste by depositing it into the PET WASTE station. Could not ask for more... or could we?
This same lawn has been used in such a fashion by many visitors and locals for a while now; i often have stepped into some leftover dog mess and discovered the fact too late ...maybe half a dozen times over the years , I've stepped back into the store and noticed the smell and stuff on our hand -woven old Persian rug, carried over by my own shoes...Yikes! Down I go with a wet cleaning rag and soap, not breathing directly over my task! As an herbalist and creator of fine Aromatherapy Creams and Salves, my olfactory system is extremely well-developed ...you get the drift!~
As the lawn stands right outside the store's windows, its activities are in our full view. On a bright and sunny day, the place is a hive of friendly human interactions: families having picnics on bright blankets spread on the green grass; children of all ages playfully turning cartwheels, throwing footballs, lovers quietly hugging each other tight whilst spooned, dogs snoozing along their happy folks etc...Once in a while the possibility of a dog fight erupts, makes itself known loudly, drawing everyone 's attention to the bared fangs, most often than not, stopped by caring owners .
Along the summer months the Green welcomes several hundred people all enjoying the organic grass under and all around them...folks actually meet from all over the world, reuniting families over a picnic blanket.
Folks lounge around for hours, practicing Yoga postures, exchanging tips etc...a lively, beloved place, indeed!
I have seen a few, under-one babes take their very first steps on that very lawn...whilst many more practice crawling on the grass under the adoring eyes of moms and dads.
Well...you may well see where I'm going with this...how can caring, thoughtful dog owners allow their dogs to relieve themselves on the very blades of grass spot where babies bury their faces on another day!
On a weekend day, the crowds' presence would simply and organically forbid such an event, whilst on a quiet day, with no one present, folks are too happy to find a green spot for their pooches after a long car ride!
I have had the blessing of several beloved canines in my life, not at this time though. It's shocking to observe that visitors bring not just one dog with them on their excursion to Point Reyes along with their children. I have seen as many as 3 dogs -to one person- happily stretching their legs, besides raising them, on the Green. Most of them are well-behaved, well-cared for, happy creatures. And this on a regular basis. As stress increases for many of us, we turn to comforting companions and take them on our short trips.
I gently spoke with my neighbors using the Green as their daily, doggie toilet. On the first occasion, the woman, hearing about the babies and children, was most understanding and gently took her dogs away. Her husband, a month later was not happy about my request, at all. He felt that perhaps the babies's presence on the lawn endangered his dogs...obviously, my request, although spoken most gently, hit a bull's eye into some old wound and triggered some rather unpleasant remarks on his part.
So...I'm still dealing with the Pet Waste station that clearly encourages folks into believing it's ok to let their pooches pee and poo on the green. I have yet to get the darn, well-installed metal stake out of the lawn and deal with the remaining and dangerous metal spikes that hold it into the base and stick upward! I can easily remove the top but not the bottom part; that, in itself, would be a real danger to our community.
Anyone wants to talk with me/help with the removal of the misguiding station for our large community's safety and happiness?