I wanna sit under one too

During the Holy Convocation, I was sitting in church listening to the story of Nathanael and the fig tree.

I said out loud to all who could hear me-

‘I wanna sit under a fig tree!” Which was met by laughter.

I really did want to sit under one. Bishop Samules had made it sound so enthralling. In my head, however, the fig tree was off in the middle east somewhere and everyone around me were wearing sandals with long elaborate skirts and pants which were held up by braided rope. And, there I was under a fig tree doing exactly what I was doing in church, writing in my Journal and listening to the story of Nathanael…

A few days later, Mother Wanda and myself wandered into Georgie’s garden.

After a brief greeting and introducing them, Georgie, lead us to a higo tree.

This plant grows in Puerto Rico as well all over North America. It has another name in English but in this garden, we call it higo.

He packed up a small bag of some for us to take on our journey.

I loved the higo’s! The white milky substance was sticky but sweet. I added them to my juice and stored the rest in my fridge. When I told my sister April, who is also a gardener, about my new and found fruit in the Bronx, she said, those are figs!

Really, April?

Yeah. We have a fig tree too! Remember?!

She then told me about the fig tree in our community garden that she tends to…

I also thought about Minister Eric who brings figs from his garden in New Jersey. I never remembered any of that until she reminded me.

Then, I thought about the tree. The short tree. And the garden. I didn’t have to catch a plane…It was so simple to walk into this garden and sit under the tree!…I changed my prayer.

First, God, show me what I have around me and let me appreciate it…next, Dear Jesus, I wanna sit under a fig tree …but I want to sit under a new fig tree, the one that is in the middle east.

I also thought about a lot of my other prayers. Are they as specific as they can be? And are my words (especially those whispered in the temple) words of life and positivity?? I know God is listening and waiting to give me more sweet figs!

A Visit to the Garden on a Sunday

After church, Mother Wanda and I walked to the garden instead of a restaurant. We skipped our typical Sunday Dinner for a fresh salad. While our counterparts indulged in all types of meats and sides, we hand- picked various colors of tomatoes and peppers, figs, cabbage, and pumpkin. The salad was truly scrumptious…we ate everything but that white cucumber. It was so nasty. Truly a let down!

With Georgie, the Gardener

Georgie, a very talented gardener who not only gardens but also builds and creates. He is also a very proud Puerto Rican and filled with stories and histories for any visitor to hold on to. While I don’t visit as much as I want, every-time I enter, I feel as if I am in a secret spot in my neighborhood. As if it is a hidden gem.

With Jamel Shabazz

I’m standing with photographer, Brother Jamel Shabazz after an inspirational photography walk in Brooklyn’s prospect park. It is always moving to see how Brother Shabazz works with so many artist in the community and how he intentionally passes on his craft.

He created a warm and family atmosphere at the walk. Anyone could tell how deeply he cared about the legacy of his craft. After the event, even though it was extremely hot, everyone stayed around to network and support each other. I was extremely tired afterwards but also motivated.

When Terrence was taking this photo, It was a bit funny because Brother Shabazz is like a giant! He surprised me and kneeled down just when Terrence clicked the button.

Bishop Green’s Appreciation

One of my favorite photos of Bishop Green sitting outside during the Holy Convocation.

He finished eating pig feet, greens, rice with gravy and corn bread!! The Young Adult Choir was in the kitchen and Mother Christine, a native of Arkansas, helped me with the southern meal.

Sometimes when my plate is filled up with a lot to do and I feel like doing a half job, I scroll to this picture and make sure I put my best foot forward. There’s nothing like doing something for others so well that their appreciation shines through their smile.

History all jugged up

I am standing in front of Simone Leigh’s Large Jug in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It is included in an exhibition entitled, “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina”.

This exhibition opens up a different jug of worms. While most slave narratives of 19th Century speak about the Atlantic Slave trade and the presence of Africans in the cotton fields, viewing Hear Me Now makes the viewer think, well, what else did Africans / African Americans contribute too? What other narratives are they apart of that we know very little to nothing about? It remind us that the slave was not confined or small at all, instead, he had a large presence and was in every walk of life.

While the entire story is told from many view points, the one artist that walks away with you is Dave. Mr. Dave Drake. He found a way to live on forever through his pottery by using the very thing that could have gotten him killed, visual literacy.

Above to the left is the jug that I couldn’t stop circling around. It reads:

nineteen days before Christmas- Eve- Lots of people after its over, how they will greave,

I wonder…. how in the world did he get away with a quote like that? He seemed to share the same status as Fredrick Douglass; yet, he was enslaved!

Douglass escape slavery in 1881. Drake’s pottery was issued in 1858. This means that way before Frederick Douglass wrote his speech, ‘What, to the slave, is the fourth of July‘? Drake was already addressing the same topic throughout his pottery.

Lesson plan idea: Visit exhibit with students and allow them to write ‘what if’ stories for Dave. Allow them to create stories to fill in some of the missing pieces of Dave’s story that we do not know…