Thursday, May 29, 2008


A confluence of factors have influenced me into thinking about acquiring my own home. I was granted permanent residence in the US a couple months ago and thought it might be good to put down some roots now that the spectre of being rudely shipped out is that much less likely. In the current housing crunch, the ads have very convincingly said i could be paying much less for a house than i'm paying for rent. Who would not want to save some money while building equity?

There are lots of properties on the market within striking distance of my resources, many very desirable or with great potential for fixing-up, and the number increases with each passing day as more folks go into foreclosure. The irony is that the financial institutions are also tightening up their criteria for lending in direct proportion to the sub-prime mortgage crash as i discovered on tentative attempts to secure the wherewithal. Having owned a home before, i did not think i needed to go that route again, but the opportunities offered by foreclosures seem too good to pass up -- and i love a bargain.

See NY Times article on the conversion of one renter into buyer.

Spring has brought a profusion of forms and colors as the plants regenerate themselves after a mild but seemingly unending winter. I note with envy and admiration the dooryard gardens i pass each day on walks through the city, though there are just as many that are unremarkable or unkempt and overgrown. Living in a fifth-floor efficiency, i have to make do with a few houseplants and herbs on the window sill. But i have my memories of gardens past.

Datura and pentas in my garden at Mango Walk, Trelawny, Jamaica, circa 2000. More intense pink peeping out on the left is the ground orchid spathoglottis plicata.

Though i'm fast approaching retirement age, i have no plans to ever retire, but i've had this idea of living in community ever since i read about and visited the Findhorn Community in Scotland some 30-odd years ago. They have demonstrated a wonderful way to live together and with nature, growing much of their own food organically and creating educational programs and various business enterprises to support the community and teach others their approach. I've visited a few communities in Virginia and New York but i haven't found one that calls me to join them.

The pull back to the soil, combined with the food and energy crises, global warming and my need for community are urging me to revisit a vision i documented for an intentional community in Jamaica, dust it off and recast it for my present urban situation.

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