Each summer is a new experience and even more than that each summer I get to make a new family. Whether it’s a group of crazy gals on an Island in Greece, a house full of goofy humans working at SeaWorld Orlando together or a group of urban farming gals as it was this year.
I love my summer families. We talk about everything and tackle life together, day in an day out we share food, fun and frustrations. We argue politics, beliefs, redefine our perspectives and furiously defend our feminism together. And it’s beautiful.
I am elated for one member of last years family to be getting married this fall as I got to be there for the adorable proposal and I got to witness another amazing young woman fight for food security and make it into the New York Times. Another family member is moving to Lebanon to tackle international relations while another is making our world more sustainable. These are some incredible young women and men who inspire me and make the experiences of my summer more incredible and educational than ever before.
This echoes so many experiences in life from internships, to travel to school: it is the people that matter most. From those five second interactions that change your world to those eternal friendships that cover thousands of miles. And this summer just as the summers before (and most certainly the seasons in between) remind me that in the next steps of life, the scary, exciting NEXT that is before me there will always be a new family to be made.
There will be those humans so inspiring and wonderful whose world with collide with my own, and I am so grateful for the humans who are already a part of my world. And as we each adventure off into our own city, country, continent, and worlds, I am so elated to see what each of our journeys hold.
It’s 9am in the high tunnels and we are eager to beat the heat. With hundreds of tomato plants to be suckered, we set a pace to get out of this humid houses before 11am. Yes, we are suckering tomatoes. I started laughing when I heard this term, but this is the official term for the removal of those tiny parts of the plant that will grow into new stems and start sprouting their own flowers, which will result in more and more fruit. So, this seems like a good thing, right? Wrong.
These suckers grow so rapidly that, left to their own devices, we would have hundreds of flowers per plant and tons of beautiful green tomato leaves, but the fruit would be tiny and flavorless. Because just as it is in life, in the greenhouses and the botanical world, it’s all about allocation of resources.
As I sort through the rapid excitement of my next steps in life, with visa applications and tickets, I feel the need to ensure that my life be focused on a few, simple parts. If we don’t, we are left with tons of beautiful greenery but no delicious fruit in our lives. And if we’d like to extend that tomato metaphor, the leaves can be toxic, so while beautiful and ethereal in scent ( to my own nose, at least) the effort put into growing so much lush greenery is wasted as an inedible visual delicacy.
Our hours of suckering, gives me plenty of time to visit the important elements in my life. Time spent with plants and in the earth enable me to sort out the priorities. And as we end another successful Monday morning with plants whose fruit will be bountiful, I feel the same is reflected in my own life.
I know the phrase is spilt milk, or is it is spilled milk, maybe I don’t know the phrase, but the point behind it stands regardless. There’s nothing we can do about the milk being on the floor, so we might as well not waste time crying over it and just clean it up. Today the spilled milk was shattered glass. And that glass was the passenger side window of my car that was strewn throughout the entire car. A few things were stolen, nothing irreplaceable and the things of the most personal value were precious books. But the violation of privacy and the shards of glass that lay across the floor, seat and dashboard (seriously, how did that spray pattern even work with so called “safety glass”?) were a small dent to my confidence in my fellow humans.
But shattered glass is all it was and when I found it at my lunch break, I knew that the damage had already been done and there strongest emotion I felt was inspiration. I know the area that I am investing a large amount of time is one of high crime rate, economic challenges and severe financial depression, so this shattered window was assurance that the personal investment I am making in this area is, in fact, necessary.
Maybe they were simply bored and had nothing better to do than shatter a few windows and steal other peoples possessions, but from my understanding of the world, most people don’t end up with such a hobby merely out of free time. Too often it is a need for drive, education, and passion that leads to these things, and when the basic needs of comfortable housing, education and healthy food aren’t met, how can we expect anything above this base level of Maslov’s heirarchy to be met?
I blame no single person for this event but rather years of divestment and neglect for a community that trickles over into so much more. I know that where I work in the food security of this area I am investing in the potential of so many incredible lives, lives that don’t need to shatter glass to find something of value. So, there’s no use crying over shattered glass, only inspiration to be found.