The B-Roll

Baby

It’s about to happen. The first brood of bluebirds nesting in my garden will fledge any day now. Unlike April the Giraffe, this mama’s accomplishment probably won’t go viral.

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Bird watcher watching the bird watcher

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Don’t make me come in there!

No matter, it has been my pleasure to hear chirps of delight with each delivery of some tender morsel that managed to escape, one of what is sure to be countless, pesticide applications in our community this year. Homeowners and city officials alike seem to have little regard for the damage being done to beneficial insect populations in the name of vigilance against West Nile.

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Chemical dependent f King species

Just like abstinence only education, constant spraying does not prevent mosquito hook ups from happening whenever the mood strikes. I digress.

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Be sure to get my good side.

Birds, bees, and blooms are putting on quite a show for us. We even had a surprise visit by a bobcat on Easter Sunday. Similar to the war on mosquitos, over-development has all but eliminated the wildlife habitat in North Texas. There I go again.

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B_Roll

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Still, spring is a magical time filled with bullfrog serenades in the evenings and butterflies beginning to find their way back to the Texas natives seeded on the Wild West side of the garden, which I was surprised to learn almost got me fined by our HOA.

Oh, the perils of civilization!

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Ten Years A Volunteer

The move was sudden but not completely unexpected. After all, it had been almost five years since we relocated, and that was only because we promised not to move while our son was in high school. Our professional lives had progressed much like everyone else’s, in starts and stops, not always of our own choosing, still, onward and upward from place to place for a job.

Then one day the call I’d been waiting over a month to receive came, offering a promotion that would finally let me step into the role I’d been hoping for my entire career. It meant we’d have to relocate to Florida, but I was excited for the opportunity. At the same time, another call from a different direction changed our lives entirely. We moved to Texas instead.

The first few months were spent learning to navigate the mangled highways in North Texas. Without a job and without children in school, getting to know people took some effort. Completely by chance while searching for a grocery store, I discovered a community garden that supplies a local food pantry and senior center with fresh fruits and vegetables. A sign posted the number to call for information about adopting a garden plot. I called.

A few days later I became a volunteer gardener. In Texas, that’s a bit like being an intern in hell’s boiler room. The first growing season I mostly dug nut sedge out of the neglected plot I’d been assigned near some fatigued fruit trees. I also harvested okra and got to know the other gardeners. It wasn’t long before I made friends with some Master Gardeners.

Certified Master Gardeners are the cream of the crop when it comes to volunteers. Always striving for excellence, how could I not want to be one of them? So, with the encouragement of my new friends, I applied for the twelve week training course offered through Texas A&M. It was great fun, educational, and most of all it opened up volunteering opportunities that filled my servant’s heart with joy. At the end of my first year, I received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for more than 100 hours of teaching and fundraising. Surprised by my new found enthusiasm for community service, it was clear that a search for paid work could wait.

Over the next nine years I poured myself into public education projects with local and national organizations, even going back to school to prepare for leadership in public affairs and community service. I believe education is the single most important factor in reducing a person’s vulnerability to poverty, the causes of which are numerous and complex to some and as simple as having a choice to others. It is my strong desire to serve an organization whose mission is to combat ignorance that perpetuates poverty. The luxury of choosing to do so for free is no longer mine. Ten years preparing for what’s next followed two decades of professional experience. Now it’s time to move on.