simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Stay Lean Stay Hungry
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Stay Lean Stay Hungry

These photos were taken in October when I was actively touring the East Village community gardens. I ran a number of garden postings, so this modest one was left to the archives. The Earth People Garden is one of those places that slips under the radar - it certainly is not in any guides or must see lists. Yet its charms were such that I thought it merited a posting. It is located on 8th Street between Avenues B and C in the heart of Losaida territory; the community members were primarily Hispanic. We were greeted cordially and invited to enjoy. We were also encouraged to come back for Halloween (which I did not do), when apparently they did a major redecoration for the holiday. I found the place extremely inspiring - their efforts and use of simple toys were a testament to resourcefulness and provided a breath of fresh air in an over-the-top world of excess. I feel that whatever creative talents I have are the product of a relatively spartan upbringing - generally I made my own toys and fun. There was a popular phrase I heard a lot at one time: "stay lean, stay hungry" - a warning not to get too fat and lazy. This was not to be taken literally (sports and exercise fans sometimes now use it that way) - the message was that doing with less will do more to drive an individual. Although I am not an advocate of eschewing all modernity and good tools, there is some merit to the concept of seeing what can be done by leveraging one's mind and personal skills, rather than relying on outside resources. These are the thoughts that ran through my mind as I wandered about the garden with its quaint displays and proud people ...


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