Saturday, May 28, 2011

110528 Sat 22:58

Today was the BRF (apartment co-op) Garden Clean-up. It is always more pleasant than I expect it to be. At the prescribed hour, everyone in the building just immediately sets to work: usually the “Three Ladies” and me, although sometimes kids come out to help. In Spring we clear the winter detritus and reinstall the garden furniture. Now we have a garden service, L√∂vstra Kooperativet,  that comes earlier in the month and does the heavy underbrush clearing, tree pruning and trash hauling. But that is mostly because two of the members, my upstairs neighbor and I, are getting older and the fifth member rarely participates. Things were beginning to get a little out of control, with the two younger ladies doing the bulk of the work. It’s a relief to have paid assistance, but I think we all feel a little as if we’re cheating. I usually bustle around reassembling the large table, pumping up tires, and recharging the lawn-mower — manly things. Raking, weeding, edging and sweeping the walks is a communal effort and ongoing. Then we sit and have coffee and kardemumma bullar in the waning light and discuss future plans, present problems, and a bit of gossip. It is a very Swedish kind of group effort, and I love the way it re-establishes friendly civility on a regular basis. This is the kind of ritual that America seems to have lost in its rush to commercialize every human interaction, or make every minute pay. The benefits are barely quantifiable, difficult to describe, but unmistakable once you’ve experienced them.

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