Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.

You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting, after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Marge Piercy, “Seven of Pentacles”

I wasn’t familiar with Piercy’s poem before today’s memorial service for Joe Herzenberg – a great way to illuminate the influence Joe had on our community. Great remembrances from folks like Gerry Cohen, Leonard Rogoff, Jon Courtland, Ellie Kinnaird and Kathie Young (who did an incredible job keeping Joe going over the last year).

Joe could be mischievous, cantankerous and real curmudgeon. He also was a passionate defender of what he believed in – including our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. In fact, as Ellie noted, Joe was an inveterate cheerleader for Dec. 15th’s Bill of Rights Day event on the old Post Office’s steps – a role she feared would not be taken up by someone new.

Speaking of roles unfilled, Franklin St. used to be the home to many unorthodox citizens – folks like Joe and Marty – but as the old generation disappears the number of new folks stepping into those roles seems diminished. Sure, even today, there are unusual folks that are being woven into our community’s fabric but it seems at a lesser and lesser rate.

Then again, maybe it just seems that way to me as I’ve taken on my own role that has swept me away from the undercurrents of our local creative culture.

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