“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” Henry David Thoreau
This blog entry is dedicated to my cousin Jennifer. We grew up together, seeing each other at birthdays, Christmas and other family events and then she went away. I did not understand much about why she no longer came to our family gatherings, but I missed her very much. What I did know was that she was in some kind of trouble. Jennifer recently spoke out publicly about how she was stolen as a young girl from all of us, and herself, into the world of human sex trafficking. She has been on my mind a great deal lately, after connecting with her on Facebook. I see her pictures and the words she writes, and all I feel is grateful that she is alive and taking back her life.
I sat looking at our freshly tilled garden this past week, and realized it was like an empty canvas. There it waits, ready to be transformed.
Last year was our first year growing a garden in Illinois. We were horribly unprepared, and behind in our growing schedule. The garden was full of weeds because we did not own a tiller. We rented one for two days, which was not near enough time to finish the job properly, but it was all the time we could afford. The tomatoes were up front, along with the herbs, and peppers. The sides of the garden were lined with giant sunflowers and zucchini while the back-end held the gourds, potatoes, beans and cucumbers. The weeds bothered me at first, but I made the decision early on to focus on the garden’s beauty and abundance.
The longer I sat near the barn, thinking about last year’s efforts and staring off at the garden, I began to see something else. The garden quite resembled the human spirit, and its amazing ability to bounce back and inspire. Just like each of us, the earth remembers the challenges, mistakes, abuses and sorrow, but it can be re-claimed and nourished back to health. Each year, the garden only grows stronger through change and learning from the previous year’s joys and mistakes.
Our newly tilled garden made me think of my cousin Jennifer. I wish that I would have asked more questions and reached out to her years ago. This year my garden is in honor of her and her beautiful and resilient spirit. Jenny…you are so very loved.