It took me nearly 30 years to really understand the pain that Bob Marley felt when he said “Every time that I plant a seed He said, ‘Kill it before it grows.'”
Now that I garden more, I understand agrarian parables better. I know what it feels like to sow seeds, tend to seeds, harvest plants, and save old seeds. When you plant a seed, it becomes an extension of you. You carefully prepare the soil, so that the seed has the best condition for thriving. You water the soil. You make sacrifices like saving eggshells in a mason jar for 2 months, so that the seed has enough calcium to be fruitful. You walk to your garden to tend to the plant. When a frost is coming, you cover your plant. When its hot, you go water it an extra time. Just to make sure that your seed lives.
Can you imagine what it feels like to plant a vegetable seed, fruit seed, or flower seed, and every time you plant that seed someone rips it up from the ground? Or a corrosive agent is poured, making the conditions for the seed to grow impossible. Or an invasive pest gets to that plant before you see it, and the plant is destroyed. Do you know the frustration, anger, and confusion that is birth from that experience? Each and every time you plant a seed. Someone kills it.
On Saturday evening, some things started to sprout up on my twitter feed about a 15 year old child who was shot in the head by a police officer. I refused to read more. I knew that if I read just a little, I would be emotionally paralyzed.
Saddened about the life, promise, and potential that was stolen from us. Enraged by my own helplessness. I knew I would think about his parents. How did it feel to receive a phone call that the child that you birth from your womb, your connection with the world’s past and the earth’s future was gone.
I knew I would think about his friends, that were in the car with him. The fear that ran through their bodies when they tried to leave a party safely, only to be caught in hell. I knew I would feel guilty for the guilt that those children felt. That they would have to bear that kind of burden for the rest of their lives. Victims.
I knew my mind would linger on the smile of a straight-A student and stellar athlete. What was time like when his life became death. Was he afraid? Did someone comfort him? Did he cry? Did he even know what happened? Sixty seconds feel like an eternity under the right circumstances.
Today, I decided to confront my fears. The smile of a 15 year old, straight A student is ingrained on my mind. I am angry. I am sad. I am guiltful. I am confused. Why must my seeds be killed before they grow?