Springs Community Notes, July 17

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I am hoping that by now the continuous dreary weather we’ve been experiencing is behind us. While I do enjoy a rainy day, and am thrilled by an all-day summer thunderstorm, it’s the more than several days in a row of gray, drizzly, dreariness like we had last week that can cast a shadow over the sunniest of dispositions, including mine.Last weekend, I witnessed more than a few altercations erupting that were rather ugly, involving nastiness being spewed from car windows, one driver to another. Now I know that we’ve all come to expect this type of behavior during the crowded, busy summer months. When the weather keeps folks off the beaches, the village gets congested with cars, pedestrians and bikers to the point where it feels scary and unsafe. Otherwise civilized citizens lash out at each other hoping to relieve the pressure cooker of frustration that days like these can sometimes produce. Unfortunately, the result is usually the opposite of what we hoped. Negativity feeds negativity, and the pressure builds. Most of us, unless we are total recluses, will encounter unnerving rudeness. Truly, I’ve found the best way to react is to not react at all. Practicing my poker face at times like these has saved me from hours of carrying around a “justifiable” resentment at a total stranger, which always feels awful. Instead, I reach inside myself to feel compassion for people who must be so unhappy to behave so poorly.

Through the gray days, I’ve had one or two bright surprises each day in the form of newly awakened flower blooms from the seeds I planted in the spring. As a novice gardener, I have been swept away by the joy each flourishing plant provokes inside me. It’s been an exercise in patience and faith for me that my hard work would be rewarded. For the first time in my life, the bunny rabbits caused me hardship … but, I forgave them, for the earth is their home, too. The lightning bugs that create a magical summer night display that is so delightful have wreaked some havoc on my flowers’ foliage. So, it’s caused me to reflect a bit on the importance of co-existing peacefully with nature and letting go of perfection. Although my garden may be a bit frayed around the edges, it’s still beautiful.

A while back I appealed to Springs gardeners to reach out to be featured for a column. Apparently Springs gardeners are shy, as I’ve heard from only one. Still, I was happy last weekend to have had the pleasure of meeting longtime Springs resident Joyce Orinstein, and the chance to tour her lovely garden that encompasses her entire property. The minute you pull up to her home, you sense the love that went into the grounds. Although it looks like it was created by a professional landscaper, everything was planted and tended to by Joyce herself. Borders of brightly popping hydrangea and many other flowering bushes lead to large clusters of daylilies, Shasta daisies, and so many other varieties of plantings and flowers that have turned her backyard into an enchanting haven. Joyce’s eyes sparkled as we chatted about her passion for gardening. Upon leaving she told me, “Working in a garden makes you forget about your troubles.” She’s right. It does. Even if you don’t have one yourself, all throughout the Springs, flowers are blooming on the edges of yards for all of us to admire. Take the time to notice. They really can lighten up the heaviest of moods.

Tomorrow is the last day to catch a great art show at Ashawagh Hall. “Midsummer Mix Art Show” features the work of local award-winning artists and will be on view from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. I would love to let everyone know about events at Ashawagh Hall before they are almost done. If you are in one, please contact me a week ahead. I’d be extremely grateful.

July and August, “Jackson Pollock Family Workshops” will be held every Thursday and Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Pollock-Krasner House. For all ages, the workshops will include a tour of the house and studio followed by a hands-on action painting session on a canvas that participants can take home. Karyn Mannix leads the workshop. The fee is $25 each, which includes all materials. Registration is required. To register, call 631-329-2811 or email karynmannix@optonline.net. The house is at 830 Springs-Fireplace Road.

Even though the summer feels more prosperous, it’s not the case for everyone. The Springs Food Pantry is open at the Springs Community Presbyterian Church located at 5 Old Stone Highway every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. I am told that those who partake will enjoy fresh produce from the Food Pantry Farm and many of our other local farms.

Last weekend, we sadly lost Ron Fleming of Amagansett to cancer. Ron was not only a hugely valued member of our church (First Presbyterian Church of Amagansett), but a longtime devoted volunteer at the Springs Food Pantry. His whole life was about giving and serving the needs of others. He also knew the joy of growing flowers. To describe his garden would take another column, but it was truly a sight to behold. Dru Raley and the other food pantry volunteers, the people of Springs and Amagansett, our entire church, and his dear friends feel his loss profoundly. A memorial service is planned for a later date in August. Ron treated everyone he encountered with tolerance and kindness, a true example of grace and dignity we would all do well to emulate.

Lastly, happy birthday to my dad, Mickey Miller of Springs, another year young yesterday. Finally, the sun is out as I finish up the column! Yeah! I’m off to the beach! Good week all!

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