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VISTA Reflections

Reflections on a Year of National Service

~July 2009~

Editor's Note: Meet Megan Thompson, a VISTA volunteer serving in Eastern Washington. She is beginning a year of National Community service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. (Think of it as a domestic Peace Corps program.) Her column each month will reflect on her experiences in working in a community to build capacity. This is the story of volunteer community service as up-close and personal as it comes. (VISTA--Volunteers in Service to America)                                       

What Grows Where the Ground has been Disturbed?

“Nature’s first green is gold . . . Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour.  Then leaf subsides to leaf . . .” Robert Frost

When I was in 6th grade, S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders was read aloud to our class.
In it one youth tells another to “stay gold,” a reference to the punch line of the eight couplets in Robert Frost’s famous poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay (quoted in part above).

A few years back, I had a college assignment to create imaginary dialogues between academic and literary figures.  In such a dialogue, Robert Frost would talk about the corruption of creation’s perfection, and decry the fading of the beauty available to us in both our outward and inner lives. 

Anais Nin, without being condescending, would promote her vision that:

"Dreams pass into the reality of action.  From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”

I have been unable to find a larger context for the Anais Nin quote.

For most of us, how well we are rooted and how smoothly we are growing gets changed up more often than we would like.  Where I live, “invasive cheatgrass” is the answer to the question, "What grows where the ground has been disturbed?"  However, when a gardener takes the care to remove what is unacceptable, what is invasive, this proactive(bold) cycle of change often results in a spreading succulent groundcover with more obvious beauty; a hardy drought tolerant plant with the capacity to bloom.

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Megan Thompson has volunteered since tutoring Vietnamese refugees as a high school student.  She earned a masters in social work from Eastern Washington University, following a BS Business Administration with a management and organization specialization from Central Washington University, and Columbia Basin Community College degrees in Chemical Dependency and Human Services.  After 15 years of coordinating and administrative support roles, she began self-employment as a grant writer, before suspending it for her year of National Service.  She has written and researched grants for various Eastern Washington non-profits serving at-risk children, youth, and young adults.

Corporation for National and Community Service

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