Few mornings do I get the opportunity to reflect on the power of space. Yet, today, as I mowed the Blackman Road Garden, my mind was consumed. When I speak about our program’s mission, I often say that our goals are to connect refugees to growing space. There is so much packed into the word ‘space’.
As I’m mowing and pondering more about space, I think of being able to breathe, to relax and to feel comfortable. I think of all this as the sun barely peaks through the clouds and the sunflowers are lit and dancing in the breeze. And thinking of green space offers another set of images, images of the freedom to come and go, to play and to work, to enter into solitude or community.
The conflicts that bring many refugees to the United States are conflicts that tear them from space, space used to farm or to live, to play and to learn. A son of one of our community gardeners told me last week that this was the first time in twenty or thirty years that some people in his community had been connected to the land again.
I watch the bustle of the morning, the birds chattering and the bees and wasps dancing from flower to flower. I listen as someone gasps at the size of the snake gourd now growing up our willow tree, and I know that providing growing space is more than providing a place to grow food. Our gardens are a sense of place that feel powerfully full of potential, hope and connection.