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Illustration of a bundle of money which has been chained and padlocked

[Crepuscular Meadows is a fiction town of 15,000.]

Madeline Pelerin came to Crepuscular Meadows late in life. She had lived in 42 different countries (her father set up franchises of his sandwich shop, and he took her with him). Then she got involved with a charity that set up schools in places that didn't have any. She expected to live in ease in Crepuscular Meadows, but the Coronavirus had other plans for her.

She left rehab six months later, but wondered what good was three million dollars' worth of stocks when you lacked the energy to enjoy it.

So she offered to donate the money for the good of the whole town, and asked for suggestions.

Public input was welcomed at a meeting in Town Hall. Scholarships for needy students? Not many would benefit, though, and there were many for whom vocational training might do the town more good.

Matteo Chelone, the gardener at Clematis Station suggested a plan of his own: 'Ask the lady with the money to form an advisory council on beautifying the town. We have two excellent greenhouses in town, plus many amateur gardeners. Everyone loves flowers. Let's have every
sector of town involved.'

Then Gaia Philpin, an empath who could talk to trees, had her say: 'Trees can be the most enduring form of public beautification. Everyone loves the big old trees like the ones in the park, but they all were small at first. Those huge old oaks were planted by Nature, with the help of squirrels. What I propose is deliberately planting trees all around the town, some for blossoms (apple, magnolia, etc.), some for fall foliage (red maples), and some for year-round beauty. We
have streets named after cedar, pine, and spruce. Let's plant them widely, to put people in the Christmas spirit and comfort us all during the cold season. In the Summer, they give delightful shade for people and animals alike.'

Dear reader, this writer hopes that the above story will inspire ideas for your own neighborhood. How would you spend millions of dollars to benefit the city or town where you live? To live in a place is to care about it. What would make it better?

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