It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
– Mary Oliver
I have a plot at a small community garden one mile from my home. Yesterday, I found out a fellow gardener died in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago.
His name was Magdi. We met only once during a community garden clean up two months ago. He did the jobs no one else wanted to do and tended to his garden with loving care. After a few hours of work, we walked back to our cars together. We talked about recipes using rosemary. He told me about his pesto recipe. I told him about my potato kale soup. I said I looked forward to exchanging more recipes. “Yes, me too,” he said. Then we said goodbye.
Some people touch us deeply with just one meeting. Magdi was my age and I know we would’ve been friends. When I found out he had died the collective sadness in the world seeped into my soul. I couldn’t breathe, like a heavy brick was put on my chest.
Many of my loved ones are going through difficult times; losing family and friends, suffering from depression, financial worries, getting sick with the virus. I do my best to keep my spirits up so I can hold space for them and shine the light of hope. But yesterday I allowed the sorrow to stay with me, wandering around the house like a hummingbird, never landing on any one thing for very long.
This morning I’m going to go to the community garden to tend to Magdi’s garden. I’m going to pull out the plants that have gone to seed. I’m going to water the ones still growing. I’m going to put my hands into the dirt and dig down deep until I touch the healing wisdom of Mother Earth. I’m going to plant flowers in memory of a kind and gentle man. Then I’m going to pick some rosemary and go home and make Magdi’s rosemary pesto recipe which I will do my best to remember. And if I can’t remember, only then will I let myself cry.