Saturday, May 5, 2007

Vicarious Happiness

Today, I pulled some siteplans off the web for inspiration and sat down with my colored pencils and started to sketch out my ideal community. It included lots of green and blue not so much tan, peach and gray. In other words, lots of open space and water features and not so many buildings and paved surfaces. There was a garden large enough to feed 35 people--my maximum human count for an eco community where you know everyone, rather than just nod at them from a distance--a safe level of intimacy without overcrowding. My design has a common house, a large vegetable garden, citrus orchards, two herb gardens, a water tower, small barn with chicken coop and a bee keeping area. There are enough buildings to house 12 families, from 2 to 4 people each (roughly 35 people). Half of these homes are over store fronts, so that the community has an external revenue source and central access to basic sundries. I imagine pods of such communities connected together, each specializing in production of one or two items that neighboring communities would like to purchase or trade. "How many acres?" you might ask. "What is the average square feet of the homes?" I have no idea. I'm not a landplanner. In fact, I don't even have the landscape in which to lay my plans. But like the Beatles "I've got a driver, and that's a start", its in my imagination, and in my coloring book, and that's worth something.

Speaking of worth something and ideal community, two dear friends just purchased a home in Maine. One sibling and his partner will live upstairs and the couple with their baby will live downstairs--a tiny community of sorts. Both couples are so loving and great, that I am overjoyed for them! The two story home the size of a medium mansion in Santa Barbara is a mere $199,000 in Maine. Why am I still here? Oh yeah. The beach, the people, the ecological mindedness of so many residents. I digress. It feels so good to be happy for my friends! I can't say that I always revel in my friend's accomplishments. I'd like to claim to be so selfless, but its not always the case. I wonder what makes it easy to appreciate some people's successes and not others? It must be the dynamic of each relationship. Here's to experiencing happiness in everyone else's accomplishments.


Unknown said...

I like your thoughts about community!!


Erika said...

Please, I need to contact you but I can’t find your email address to write you; sorry I’m trying to contact you through this way, could you please write me to e.erika.brown (at)