The People's Garden, Tether to Protection

Fourth and Avenue B

by Ednoria


This small community garden was once just another abandoned lot, growing nothing but weeds and a few sickly trees.

About fifteen years ago, two boys were badly hurt when they fell on a pile of broken bottles while playing tag in an abandoned lot. The parents of the children, angered by the city’s apparent indifference to such a dangerous eyesore, got together one Saturday morning and, with the help of a few friends, began to clean up the worst of the glass and other trash. Other neighborhood residents joined them, and still others promised to come by the next week. Within a month, the lot had been cleaned and mowed, and one woman had staked out a small garden.

Support for the project continued to grow. One local artist decorated the lot by welding together some of the larger pieces of trash, forming fantastic shapes out of car fenders, rusty bicycles, and refrigerators. A couple of handymen used donated lumber to build a shed, and as the last board was nailed into place, a Tether blossomed. Zadkiel, who had been looking for a base in the area, claimed it as her own.

When winter came, the boys’ parents and several other of the more active residents continued to meet every weekend in the shed, and thus CAN (the Community Action Network) was born. Over the years the group has tackled many neighborhood problems, often aided by Zadkiel’s angels.

The lot is now surrounded by a sturdy chain-link fence, and the grounds are well-maintained. During the warmer months, it is a haven for those who yearn to get away from the endless smog and concrete of the city. The garden is quite extensive, and regular visits by a sympathetic Cherub of Novalis have kept the vegetables and flowers large and plentiful. Even the trees have recovered. Many a resident has been inspired to get out and do something positive for their community after spending time here.

Traffic at the tether is much reduced during the winter, save for the weekly meetings of CAN.

Ahazia, Cherubim Master of Protection, is the tether’s first Seneschal. The small garden shed, which is also the tether’s focus, is her home. As Rita Schwartz, she has a well-established role as an avid gardener and community activist. Residents frequently seek out Rita, a black woman in her mid-thirties, for advice on everything from roses to block parties.

The shed itself is perhaps 10′ × 15′, and is located at the back left corner of the lot. Ahazia keeps a guard dog, and on those rare occasions when she has to leave the tether, the dog is tied to the door. The shed contains the usual garden implements, dog food, sacks of seed and fertilizer (usable as chairs during CAN meetings), and a small electric stove (the shed has electricity, but no running water, though there is a hose hookup just outside).

The People's Garden, Tether to Protection

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