From: John Greene, Nancy Lowe (
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 20:36:31 -0500
I just witnessed a marvelous thing, a thing which could only have happened
in an intimate, trusting community like cohousing.  After weeks of drought
here in Atlanta we finally had some real rain today -- very strong storms
as a result of disturbances from hurricane Danny.  It was twilight, still
steamy, and I walked out my front door to witness four people clustered
tightly together at the base of a 30-foot ladder.  My eyes followed the
ladder up, and there was Diane Burgoon, up in the boughs of a mature tree.
Turns out the winds from the storm had knocked down the nest of a dove,
along with two nestlings, and Diane was replacing the nest.

The group needed me to help hold the ladder when she went back up with the
baby birds.  At first I hesitated, because it seemed like to much
responsibility -- what if she fell, and it was my fault?  How could I jump
into this group effort and perform with the level of skill that was
required?  Just how do you hold a 30-foot ladder vertical while someone
climbs it, anyway?  And how could Diane possibly trust these people,
untrained in circus feats, to support her, to protect her life?  Were these
people crazy?  But Diane was already on her way back up, and the team
needed an extra person, so I just grabbed a side of the ladder and held on.
Each of us had to make minute adjustments in pushing and pulling, to
adjust to Diane's shifting weight and keep the ladder vertical and steady.

What struck me about this event, after the initial awe at Diane's courage
and balance, was that here were neighbors from five households
accomplishing an incredible feat of mutual trust and spontaneous bravery,
the likes of which I have never witnessed among neighbors.  Sure, you might
see something like this on Outward Bound, or in a rehearsal for Cirque du
Soleil, but not among plain folks just hanging out in the front yard.  It
made me realize that all those months, those years of intense planning, the
conflicts, the grueling discussions, and now the group dinners, the
conversations over digging holes for trees, has bonded us into something
more than a neighborhood.  We TRUST each other.  Wow, what an amazing,
powerful thing is real community!  Now I know we can save much more than

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