In January of 2021, we kicked off our Bloom in Columbia, Missouri with a virtual call over Google Meet. I’m supposed to make this blog post about my Bloom kickoff, because it was a big deal ten years and also because I’ve been working all these years towards Bloom being a reality. I know how important it is to do these writeups about the events but the truth is, being someone who can make these kinds of events a reality means it’s hard to find the time.
Ten years ago, we tried to have an Evolver spore in my town – a meetup group where we screened films, discussed topics and in general tried to evolve consciousness in our town. I hadn’t taken into consideration where I was at in my life when I tried to pull it off. I was the president of my neighborhood association, a full-time case manager at the Division of Workforce Development in the MO State Career Center, and a new mom growing a brick in my chest from stress, smoking and coffee. In other words, I was nuts.
We pulled off events for about a year before I realized I couldn’t do it, I could not be an events organizer. We put the project on hold and I worked as a volunteer for Bloom International on and off over the decade, trying to build something that would make the world a better place. Fast-forward to this moment in time and I’m not a new mom anymore, I’m not the president of anything anymore, I’m not a smoker anymore, and with COVID raging we have a captive audience. Time to try again.
We were careful about who we invited to the kickoff, only folks we believed could embody non-violent communication. 8 people showed up besides myself, and it felt like a transcendent moment. There was a theme of people who had created events in the city over the years to fill a void they had in their own lives, a sort of “Do unto others” creed we shared. It was nice to find each other in the same place. I feel like it’s a team that can stay together – but the important part is that we came, we heard, we saw each other. We know who’s in it to win it for the clean green machine our city will be.
Events have started materializing without much effort, so I am pleased. Coming up is a Hike of Bards where we all dress the fool and walk down to the river to sing at sunset, each of us carrying an instrument or a candle. We will sing to the river in hopes that our winds reach some corner of the Universe and conjure favor from the powers that be. We’re also going to have a virtual poetry slam, with a focus on Earth-based work and a professing of love for our beautiful planet. There’s a spring event with art and music at a local winery with a late fire at a venue that one of our organizers has access to. We all agreed we all needed COVID-safe, family-friendly activities that didn’t revolve around getting hammered, and loved the idea of remaking the social scene in our town towards more socially-conscious ends.
By the end of the year, I plan to move away from this city where I spent a quarter century. I can’t say what I think it’s given to me. Aren’t we all supposed to plant a tree in whose shade we’ll never stand? I’m not sure why it matters or that it does. Certainly there is something beautiful about this place, something special about the people here.
I’m praying to the river at the Hike of Bards that after I’m gone, the team we put together will keep the city blooming, always.
by Meg Rivers