Unbridled Generosity

Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza

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Unbridled Generosity
Flavia Potenza, Editor & Publisher
The coronavirus surges again, grateful to humans for being such generous hosts. Thwarting the attack, we are hunkering down yet again in our microcosmic enclave, increasing our supply of masks, keeping our distance, and planning our grocery shopping as we limit trips outside of the canyon. Grocery lists are essential if we’re laying in supplies for two weeks. It reminds me, as a child growing up in the country, how we shopped for the week’s groceries on Friday nights. My mother came home from work, made supper, my father would start the car, a 1941 Ford, and we’d drive five miles to a co-op they had helped establish in the village. Life is so quiet now, I find myself wandering into mental monologues, philosophical treatises on The Meaning of Life. I find meaning in little things I never noticed before like the swallowtail butterfly feeding on the geranium patch gone wild. I spent ten minutes just watching. Happy encounters with masked neighbors always give a lift to the day; I’ll be happier when I can see their lips move. If you’re looking for The Meaning of Life, you will definitely find it in the generosity of spirit that seems to be a trademark of Topanga. So many people volunteer year-round wherever they see a need that resonates with whatever they are able to give. On a larger scale, look at the abundance of food programs in the canyon during this time, pushed forward by the SAGES and the Community Center with food provided by our restaurants with help from the County. Then, of course, there’s Rocco’s Cucina who was way ahead of the curve seeing our specific need for elderly, house-bound and disabled residents early in the pandemic. In the news, taggers decided Pine Tree Circle was their canvas; Waste Management’s fee hike was sidelined by the Department of Public Works; and a member of 5G Free California revealed an unpermitted installation of wireless telecommunications equipment on Topanga Canyon Boulevard that was halted on June 13. For those who might appreciate a retrospective of summer songs of the ‘60s, Joel Bellman’s “The Sound of Summer Playing” (Pages 12-14) will bring back memories for some and maybe inspire curiosity for younger generations to discover the broad musical shoulders today’s music stands upon. Talented Topanga kids, Jamie Mazur, and brothers, Alex and Brody Gage, get the spotlight as they step into the future. Jamie will be pursuing a career in comedy at USC come fall, and the Brothers Gage appear in their second round on America’s Got Talent Sunday night. Finally, Topanga Poet, Jean Colonomos, is keeping a COVID Diary (Page 19) to mark the days of quarantine, remarking on Juneteenth, her grandaughter’s laughter, and a quote from a friend, who observed, “Because we’re isolated, we have time to go deeper into ourselves.” That’s one way to discover a new friend. My mother once told me about an incident when my sister and I were little. She was walking home across the George Washington Bridge (New York) and had a panic attack. Working her way through the emotional onslaught, she started thinking about what she would make for dinner for my father. The moral of that experience that she passed on to us, was that thinking about someone else was an antidote for anxiety. One thanksgiving, my son, around 10 at the time, and I had no one to share the holiday with. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we found a charity downtown that was feeding the homeless and volunteered to help. On the trip back home, we were both on such a high, having served, laughed with, and talked to strangers we would never have met otherwise, and knowing there were those in that community who served year-round. Kind of like the Topanga I know.
Flavia Potenza

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July 24, 2020