What makes Magnolia a community?

To non-residents, Magnolia is "Mongolia" for all its relative isolation and remoteness. Yet living here, you feel neither insular nor removed.

Magnolia is large enough - over 4 square miles - for its own zip code. It is a city-recognized area.

Magnolia is, unequivocally, a neighborhood. It has some 21,000 residents. Admittedly, most of those residents you will never see, and only a few will you ever know.

One could strongly argue that people who occupy a shared locale, but only randomly encounter one another, have little more affinity than gas molecules in a vessel.

So how is it that there could possibly be an affirmative answer to the question: "Is Magnolia a community?"

Well, what makes a community? Community involves cohesion amongst its members. And cohesion is a matter of degree.

Courtesy and consideration represent minimal cohesion. Caring is stronger. Cooperation and contribution are true attributes of community.

Consider how Magnolians conduct their private lives. Very few are disturbing, disrespectful or destructive.

Small in number are those who neither maintain their property nor its appearance. Rare are the worst offenders who build permanent, unsightly structures that by size, style or materials perpetually offend their neighbors.

Instead, Magnolians overwhelmingly are quiet in conduct, diligent in preservation and respectful of others interests.

Consider how Magnolians conduct their public lives. Neighbors tend to know neighbors. Civility and friendliness are the norm. Courtesy and deference extends to those not known, whoever they might be.

Usually when neighbors or an interest group propose or oppose an action, the approach is reasoned and respectful rather than reckless and railing.

And, usually, the initial response is one of openness to dialogue, not intransigence of self-interest. Care is exhibited for our common areas.

Little examples: pedestrians don't litter and dog walkers are responsible. The vast majority of drivers behave well. (Surely it is visitors that drive discourteously, double park or speed through our school zones.)

Cooperation and contribution are true attributes of community. Witness the hundreds who invigorate the social institutions in Magnolia; also those that by their work create the community and charitable events in Magnolia.

For instance, did you know that Magnolia has the highest number "block watches" and self-organized, disaster-response teams of any neighborhood in the city?

Many Magnolians actively support causes of the greater community, e.g., League of Women Voters, Seattle Milk Fund, Puget Sound Blood Bank, etc., that in turn benefit our own neighborhood residents.

Magnolians find their personal way to contribute to community - according to their means, skills, time and interests. All have great value; all make our life here better than it would be otherwise.

However, community is not proved by listing examples. Rather, community is realized by the collective attitude and actions of all of us. We do have a "critical mass" sufficient to ignite community. My experience has proved that to me.

The attitude and action of community is vigorous. It will always be a self-sustaining chain reaction... if we all realize that many people are indeed giving and that each of us can also contribute in our individual way.

New comers at first see only the visible and like it here. Seasoned residents apprehend the less visible and feel they belong here. Why? Chances are it's community that solidifies their fondness for Magnolia.

Magnolia has the components of cohesion: courtesy, consideration, caring, cooperation and contribution. Look more carefully at what people are quietly doing and you too will apprehend that Magnolia is not just a neighborhood - it is a community.[[In-content Ad]]