A few years back some bad things started happening to us. It seemed as though we were under siege…. trapped in a surreal situation where nature all around us was under attack. It was a situation that seemed stunningly unlikely. The impossible had happened. The flood plain behind my home was about to be developed as a residential property, putting all the surrounding houses in jeopardy of being inundated. Two completely reliable expert sources had told me this was mathematically impossible. To build in the floodplain, you must have a 1:1.5 percent ratio of compensatory storage. I had seen for myself the water rising and widening each year. What had started as a floodplain had grown into a complex wetland eco-structure. Diverse wildlife had adopted it as their home. Aside from the mosquitoes and the smell of the receding water after a big rain, I had grown to love it. If I kept the landscaping pristine and abated the mosquitoes, it was a manageable inconvenience. I had accepted the responsibility as well as the bucolic peace and privacy.
Consternation aside, I learned one unexpected thing. I have terrific neighbors. I am honored to have been given the chance to get to know them. Not only are they smart and engaged with their community; they are fun and funny. We had people step up to the microphone who not only don’t live on the river, but some that didn’t even live in the neighborhood. Lake Forest is a great community with smart involved residents. I am proud to call these people my friends. I learned an important lesson. It’s nice to have privacy … it’s much nicer to get involved with your community.