I attended the Soul Fire Farm Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion Program this year (after being wait listed last year) and it was a life changing experience on so many levels. One of the lessons I learned there came from pruning tomatoes. For those who don't know anything about growing tomatoes (like me), it was great to learn how alike I am to them! They like warm, moist environments to grow and need something to support them to climb up (sometimes it's a trellis, in this case it was an interconnected system of harnesses that clip onto the plant and keep them pulled upright.
Our job was to prune the tomatoes to support their growth by cutting off "suckers" - parts of the tomato plant that grow and create a new path forward, taking up nutrients and energy from the "main stem."
The thing is, it wasn't always easy to tell which one was the sucker and which one was the main stem. Sometimes these suckers grow into full blown whole other tomato plants that sprouted flowers and everything and the advice we got was to look at the apical stem - the very top of the plant that is driving the entire being forward, upward, always up, and to see which one of the paths growing seems like it has more vitality, life, energy and will yield the most fruit.
Ya'll. I was in tears. I was going THROUGH IT!!! I had all kinds of analogies for life at this point, right?! I was thinking about what are the suckers in my life? Where could I use pruning? Where does a sucker not even present like a sucker but like a whole plant that yields fruit but it's still a sucker? Then I thought about how my people, in so many ways, are treated like the suckers. Like we can just get picked off because someone else decided something about us and so we get picked off. I was done. It was one of the experiences with the most impact the entire time I was there.
I share this because, though this might seem like the end, this is the time that for ALOT of us, we will begin attracting ALL KINDS of energy into our life with the good and hard work we've done here. The thing about suckers too is that they grow in the spaces in between, the gaps. This is where they thrive. Just like so many forms of oppression, distractions, trauma - it's in the spaces we create between us and others, us and our bodies, us and our passions that more violence, trauma and things that hurt thrive.
It is our time for harvest and also a great time to prune. A time to decide what your vision will be for your way forward, for our people to be free, and to say goodbye to suckers that are draining us from that vision. We have already spent too long on suckers so let's devote the rest of our time and energy on the way forward, and upward. Time to prune.