I’ve realized that I love biking behind strangers and watching the way their bodies move on their machines, as they propel themselves forward at a green light. I love getting to know the shape of their backs, the way they pace their pushes… if they brake at STOP signs. And after riding behind someone for what seems like 20, 30 blocks across the city. This stranger becomes less strange.
And yesterday was a beautiful experience of this.
when strangers became less strange
when strangers become acquaintances
acquaintances become familiar
familiar becomes family
Yesterday I was with Nathan and Elena, two ROTR volunteers that I had started hanging out with outside of the garden. Beach swims mostly. We grabbed perogy dinner from the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral and decided to take it to eat at the Olympic Village, at a park just beside Habitat Island. It was my attempt at intentionality. Making time for people in the gardening community, to make a gardening family.
And while we nibbled at our perogies and cabbage rolls I started falling in love. Not the romantic type, no. the light, giggly type. The kind of love where you find out the little quirks that make a person so irresistible. Like Nathan with his silly tricks and also his ability to be patient and listen with an attentive ear. And Elena with her light-hearted sense of humor and silly ideas.
The wonderful thing is that this seems to be a trend. Not just Nathan and Elena, but so many of the people I have been engaging with this summer. The interns, volunteers from drop-ins, the staff at the Nest (Margaret & Judy), members of Sprouts, the girl in the club room next door (Mannekirin), people from church…. the more time I spent with these people, the more I am in love, with who they are and how they are teaching me so much about how to be human.
I think about Sarah who has an affinity for cats and is thoughtful beyond measure. I think about Simon who is always ready to give love to those who need it the most. I think about Njoki and her sassy personality that just radiants joy and light. I think about Cat, who cares so genuinely and gives the best hugs. Tiffany who is so gentle, and carries laughter within her. Ilana who imparts wisdom with her words and actions. Evg who’s tenderness astounds me. I am madly, deeply, truly in love with these people (cue Savage Garden music).
This sense of belonging grows stronger by the day. And I feel an obligation to these people. Not one that is burdensome or heavy, but one that delights in being able to journey with them.