I am in it now. I made the leap and enrolled in vocational midwife training. There’s no way of knowing if I am Truly Ready but somebody inspired me to have faith.
A few months ago a wonderful young woman I had known only briefly passed away. Despite the short length of our friendship, she made a lasting impact on me because of the fierce joviality and truth with which she shined. She was in a coma and her parents had to let her go and I was crying over a shitty dirty martini when I found out. Even though she would never read it, I went home and wrote to her about why she inspires me. That week I also signed my life back over to being a student. I am grateful.
You are so very you.
I have always looked up to you. My knowing you was not for very long.
It was here and there but each instance was so connected, so real.
If someone better than me wrote a song about you that’s what it would be called.
You are so truly a part of your passions, honest about your truths, courageous about your seemingly obvious decisions.
Of course, we should have a garden at school.
Of course, us students should be embracing connection to our food, to our Earth.
Clearly, the rest of us were too shy to step forward with ideas that should have been manifested 20, 30 years ago, and you did it anyway. You did it because it was the absolute right and strong thing to do.
We never hung out much, socially, at least, and so I was intimidated by your raw grace.
In rainboots you showed me, gleefully, the compact discs hanging above leaves and buds and sprigs, to ward off hungry birds from you and your recruits’ hard labored plants.
Vegetables, and fruits. The stuff of essence. The stuff of our cells. You knew it and proclaimed it proudly, without making anyone feel stupid or ugly for not knowing. And for those of us who did know, you reminded us why we got involved in the first place.
To feel hot sun on our cheeks, and warm earth breaking up in our fingers, like dogs or children, neither shame nor doubt holding back our butts from sitting down, splat, in the dirt, to seed something delicious.
For me, to teach others. To bring communities together. To help
me us, you brought a poster with a carrot dangling off of it, a reminder of the power that we, Youth, with a capital “Y”, have to innovate and foster change and growth among our loved ones, in familiar places. I kept the poster in my living room for months, waiting until our last final exam to bring it, as delicately as Rochester winds allowed, to your laughing hands and eager face, so that you could use your bright piece of paper again sometime, to show what you had done, and maybe inspire someone else to jump, springily, on board.
You, Annalise, somewhere between Nature and us Humans. Someone on Facebook called you a nymph. It’s true, you are entwined in all that is green and water and light. But also, your personable heart shines. Even in class, listening to the Facts of Life through the Lens of Economics, I could hear your smile opening in the desk in front of me, I could feel your eyes roll at our pessimistic professor’s bad jokes. But never in a mean way. Always kind.
A nymph, yes. A drop of dew, hanging quite precariously – and yet purposefully – from a pumpkin leaf. A pumpkin you planted. To be made into pie to share with your friends.