In response to the HarsH ReaLiTy Challenge! posted by blogger OpinionatedMan on March 2, I simply had to share the world that is Yellow Springs, Ohio. This bumper sticker says it all:
Yet Yellow Springs is so much more than its tree-hugging/hippie-throwback reputation would suggest.
Yes, we still stage protests at the drop of hat, whether for the recent police shooting tragedies, Occupy Wall Street, or the sad decay of our historic Antioch College main building (on a campus that is undergoing a thrilling revival and newly-earned accreditation).
Every Saturday at noon, a dedicated band of citizens holds a peace vigil on a street corner at the edge of the three-block business district.
Downtown is filled with quirky boutiques and art galleries, and our very own independent movie house, the Little Art Theater. Franchise businesses are intentionally scarce: two banks, the Speedway and BP gas stations at either end of downtown, the Subway sandwich shop along the Little Miami Bike Trail at the edge of town.
But we don’t just rabble-rouse. We also know how to have fun, and are ready to party at the drop of hat…or bursting of a bubble at the recently instated BubbleFest! Our semi-annual Street Fair attracts thousands of visitors every June and October.
And we do love nature. Whenever Hubby and I leave town for a family visit up north, just crossing the corporation limits into the tree-shaded streets of Yellow Springs elicits a huge sigh of relief as we return to the unique atmosphere we call home. Glen Helen Nature Preserve (which abuts John Bryan State Park which abuts Clifton Gorge) surrounds the water feature which gives our town its name, a remnant from the early days when city folk from Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and beyond flocked to our little community for the healing waters of the yellow spring.
In addition to the re-energized Antioch College (the four-year liberal arts college which helped earn Yellow Springs the title “Berkeley of the Midwest” in the ’60s), the village houses the main offices for Antioch University, and the campus of Antioch University Midwest for non-traditional adult students.
Creativity thrives alongside learning in Yellow Springs, with artists of all sorts including painting and mosaics, glass-blowing and bronze work, writers and poets, and music in any style you can imagine. We’re home to the nationally-recognized Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and while I can’t prove it, I’m fairly certain we started the yarn-bombing craze.
HarsH ReaLiTy? Yes, we have that, too. But by and large, our sense of community, of place, of caring for a larger purpose in life keeps us upbeat and positive when the outside world intrudes. Our food pantry is well-stocked (and sadly well-used). Current Cuisine deli maintains a donation box where residents can contribute to a meal fund for families facing serious illness or the loss of a loved one. Ride sharing is common; barter and curb-alert freebies pass along mundane household items. Yellow Springs Home, Inc. works to provide affordable housing in a community where desirability makes property values soar.
Disclosure: I am an Antiochian at heart, an alumni of Antioch University, and assistant director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Hubby and I have lived in this community for less than five years, but when we bought our house here after a lengthy search…it was like coming home.