Why A Peace Garden?
By Suchi Lathrop
Community can sometimes be an un-peaceful place, as we deal with a myriad of personalities and the rough edges of unresolved issues. And even when we are feeling peaceful in community, we can still feel deeply unsettled by our knowledge of war and oppression in the world. Of course it’s not a bad thing to be moved by the plight of others, but at some point we need to collect ourselves, enjoy what we have, and creatively make our contributions. Thinking about this led me to the idea of creating a peace garden at Earthaven, where those in conflict might sit with one another to work it out, those feeling inner conflict might find some serenity, and those wanting a deeper and quiet connection to nature could find it. Community is a busy place. Perhaps the peace garden can also be a place to just slow down, or where friends can have a quiet conversation. A conversation could be entirely different in quality if it took place in a quiet, beautiful setting.
The peace garden at Earthaven, which was begun in February 2007 and should be finished by summer, is situated in the heart of the community, yet in a secluded area where bamboo grows and two creeks converge. It will have a peace pole, pathways, benches, fruit trees, and a living fence to separate it from a parking lot. An entrance archway can be added as members offer their creative suggestions and labor.
Another idea has sprung up, not yet approved, for a small bridge that would connect the garden with another park area.
After beginning the planning for the Earthaven peace garden I came across reference to another such garden in Tamera, a community in Portugal; at O.U.R. Ecovillage in British Columbia; and at Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm community in Tennessee. It seems there is a growing world consciousness that we must have peace. I like that we let our visitors know that we hold this value and make room on our land for a place to express it.