Photo from Carol Currie and Janell Jenkins, Board members of Garland Area Makerspace

Tree of Lanterns of Gratitude - Garland Community Garden, Garland, Texas

The Winter Solstice event hosted jointly by Loving Garland Green and the Garland Area Makerspace was a success.  Instead of stockings, lanterns (made from recycled soda cans) were hung with care at the Garland Community Garden.

In addition to adding lanterns to the tree, visitors took their photos and photos of their children in front of "Garden Wings",, a participatory art installation at the garden.  While we can't guarantee this will make them better gardeners in 2019, it will remind them that we often soar to new heights on wings of knowledge, experience and caring from others.


You are invited to join members of Loving Garland Green and participate in the first Wings for Our Community event.  “Wings” was born as a fundraiser concept for the Garland Area Makerspace. Loving Garland Green, stewards of the Garland Community Garden, are supporting us in testing Wings.  Our idea is to put wings all over Garland. People can pose with the wings and donate money to help manifest a space for the Garland Area Makerspace.

As our concept broadens and becomes more community inclusive, it has occurred to us that any nonprofit in our community can also have their own wings.

Each pair of wings will be unique to the maker/artists, but they will all loosely follow a format of being 8 feet tall and with feathers for their outer edges.  The body of the wings will consist of related objects.  For example, Garden Wings, shown above has various representations of organic matter.  Soon we will have a pair of “Maker Wings.”  These wings will feature people and tools.

The idea behind "Wings" is remembering and recognizing all the wings we are given in the form of people and tools that enable us to soar to heights we might otherwise have never been able to.   At this event, each person who wants to will be given a lantern and an LED candle to put inside the lantern and attach to a structure in the garden. These lanterns are in remembrance and gratitude for people in our lives who have provided wings for us to soar.

There will also be markers at the event for those who want to write the names of these people on their lanterns.


Note:  If it's rained more than an inch in the last 48 hours, park on Kingsbridge and walk down to the garden.


WINGS IN THE GARDEN - a participatory art installation in the Garland Community Garden -- Do something out of your box, even if it feels silly. Many of us are stuck in belief systems that no longer serve our needs.


 We've heard it all before:  "Take new paths.  Step out of your box.  Do things you've never done before. Talk to someone with a different worldview from the one you hold. Take the road less traveled, Read an author you never hear of. etc."  And it's still all very good advice.  When we surround ourselves with only those who agree with us, we limit the development of our intelligence and vision and our potential to fully develop as human beings.  Rigor mortis begins to spread in our brains and our thoughts become crippled as our inability to think in new ways deepens.

Johanna Arendt,, a political philosopher and theorist of the 20th century described deeply held ideas that we no longer question as "frozen thoughts" that blind us to any idea that does not fit into our world view.  We need to remember that a world view is a philosophical and not necessarily a real view of the world as it is.  We need to seriously examine our beliefs at least once a year.  We can do this by merely finishing these sentences again and again:  I believe that ________.  I believe this because___________(how did you come to have this belief in the first place? Really, where did it originate? With your parents, with a friend?  Force yourself to think of one exception to this belief. This is not true all of the time because...........  This belief serves me because as long as I believe this I can__________________

If you have trouble getting started, think of some emotionally charged topic for you.  For example I believe that all white people______ or  I believe that all black people______  i believe that all Republicans __________  I believe that all Democrats___________.


There are other ways to jar oneself out of an ossified belief system that no longer serves you or the people around you.  Allow a few people with different world views into your life.  Have conversations with them.  Make a conscious effort to seek out exceptions to one of your deeply held beliefs.  


When a nation has a leader who surrounds himself entirely with only those who agree with him (or who at least say they agree with him), then people get the “my way or the highway” leadership of a self-absorbed dictator.

Cases in point: Kim Jong-un doesn’t allow anyone to disagree with him; nor does Putin; nor did Franco; nor did Hitler.  Unfortunately our own President seems to follow their example as there is a long string of people he has appointed, only to fire when they disagree with him.


“Those who called themselves patriots introduced that new species of national feeling which consists primarily in a complete whitewash of one's own people and a sweeping condemnation of all others.” -- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Another name for this kind of “patriotic” thinking is Nationalism. If we are so busy glorifying our nation we may become blind to the part our nation's leadership and foreign policies of the past played in destroying another country and that perhaps reparations are owed.

For example, read the history of US military meddling in the politics of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. We are not innocent bystanders in the destabilization of these nations. Our leadership has been working overtime at it for 50 years up to and through today.  For example, Soto Cano Air Base (commonly known as Palmerola Air Base) is a Honduran military base 5 mi (8.0 km) to the south of Comayagua in Honduras. It houses between 500-600 U.S. troops and is also used by the Honduran Air Force academy.

What the USA has done in these Central American and South American nations is just another version of what we did to Mexico by destabilizing their corn market in the 1990’s with our heavily subsidized corn commodities and NAFTA trade agreement that drove 2 million Mexican farmers out of the market and into the maquiladoras and also illegally into the USA. Whose fault was that really?

And again people do not wake up one morning, put on their flip flops and decide to walk over a 1000 miles away from all they’ve ever known as home unless they are truly faced with what they believe to be a life/death choice. Think about it from a personal view. What would it take for you to pack up, leave your home and travel over 1000 miles practically barefoot to a place you’ve never seen before and perhaps don't even speak their language?

These people are at our gates because they feel they have no other alternative. If we slam the door in their faces, our nation takes one giant step backward from what it means to be human. This is not my idea of how Americans are supposed to act.  

Americans need to unfreeze their thoughts and open their hearts.  Our nation has a food sustainability index of 124% .  This translates that we have enough food to support 24% more than our current population.  In numbers, this is approximately 80 million more people. In addition, we need young immigrant workers to help support our aging population and declining birthrate.  We need to start thinking and turn off the automatic pilots of our false belief systems that are supported by cliches, campaign rhetoric and what in many cases amounts to hate speech.

Our best interests as a nation can indeed be tied to the best interests of the migrants at our gates in Tijuana.