In a city with an annual budget of nearly $3 billion, nearing 1 million people. With limitless ambition and generous imagination about how we can serve and lift our citizens by aspiring to End Poverty, homelessness, illiteracy and exploitation of all kinds. Where we build architecturally renowned recreation centres, art galleries, bus barns and sky kissing towers. Where we fight back against the northern winter winds with ice castles and slip and slide Sundays. Where the next generation of leaders, citizens, and taxpayers rise from the bungalows of Malmo and arrive from the shanties of Bangladesh.
So, what does this have to do with community sandboxes?
It is, in this city where those who have lived for generations and have shoveled their own small mountains worth of snow, join forces with those who have come to us recently, who have picked up their own shovel and contribute to the caring for this great place.
So, whether it be a man in his 70’s or a woman in her 30’s, both have and will skeptically but dutifully support the ambitions of generations of civic politicians to build a place splendid for all who live here now and for all who will come henceforth…
And when the snow falls, then the temperature falls, and then rises again--a playful intermolecular sidewalk symphony turns high noon slush puddles into supper time ice sheets--day after day...
They both put on a coat and drive to their community league, with empty buckets in hand to retrieve their pail of sand--a simple offering for this person, this citizen caretaker of their own small strip of concrete in front of their modest castles--where one well cared for strip of sidewalk linked to the next and to the next creates a pathway of safe passage for the slowing elder or the quickening toddler and all of the footsteps in between.
This pail of sand is a small price to help these citizen caretakers tend to the safety of their neighbours and it is a small price--1/100th of 1 percent of our annual operating budget, to support this simple and dutiful contribution of citizenship and sidewalk stewardship.