Last night I was driving back home from hanging out on the deck at my daughter's house in Stevens Forest. My car windows were rolled down, the early Fall weather was mild and the James Taylor song was building towards the chorus.
I turned into the Village Center and noticed a touch of Fall color on trees and bushes. The parking lot was busy with people doing a bit of Friday night shopping, picking up dry cleaning, Chinese food, heading into the Second Chance. I felt something well up in my heart.
"I forget what to ask for, there isn't anything I haven't been given. How could I wish for anything more as I am here living in heaven? This moment in the sun to feel the wheel turning on."
This is my home. These are my people. The beautiful streets and houses, the seasons changing, people out walking their dogs, the cross country runners from the high school. The teenager who breaks off from his pack to help an older lady who has dropped a bag of groceries.
I love Oakland Mills.
And yet--somehow--there is a small, discontented minority that wants me to be scared, angry, and upset.
They want me to be scared, angry, and upset about the state of my Village. I'm not.
They want me to be scared, angry, and upset about how my neighbors' houses look. I'm not.
They want me to be scared, angry, and upset about the kind of children who attend our schools. I'm not.
They want me to be scared, angry, and upset when the County considers investing in an Oakland Mills property that badly needs investment. I'm not.
Do I ever get scared, angry, and upset? Sure. I'm scared that these people are destroying a healthy future for Oakland Mills. I'm angry that they are mistreating our Village Staff and breaking Village Board rules to get their way. And I'm upset that they care more about property values than people.
But I love Oakland Mills. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I have friends, family, and wonderful neighbors here. We have great schools and a lively Village Center and Farmers Market. Our Village Staff work hard to serve our community.
Can a fierce love for community win out over people who mobilize their troops through fear, anger, and negative emotion? I believe it can, but only if I am not alone. Only if the voices of people who work every day for creating the good are willing to speak up and be heard.
If you are reading this, you might be one of them.