Those who know me well enough will know that all I really want to do is to build a cabin in the woods and plant fruit trees.
If not for the speaking tours, the activism, the activist training, if not for the workshops with school students and prison inmates, and the resilience training seminars… If not for all of the things that continue to draw me out into the world, all I really truly want to do is to just be still, build a cabin and plant thousands of fruit trees.
And yet I seem to always be living on the road and out of a bag.
A few years ago, on one of my visits to Sydney whilst on tour, I decided to take my grandmother to the nursery and told her to buy whatever she wanted for the garden.
She loves gardening and she loves her roses and her lemon trees but doesn’t spend much money on the tools and fertilisers and seedlings she really wants because my grandparents both on a pension while paying off a mortgage and at the time they were looking after my dying great-grandmother.
So on that visit to Sydney, I took her on a shopping spree at the nursery and insisted that she buy whatever she wants. She kept checking price tags and I kept telling her not to worry about it.
Along with the things we needed for the garden I added a tiny little orange tree seedling, that was a while away from giving fruit.
My grandmother saw it and gently said “No Erfan, not this one.”
“Why not?” I asked, “it’s not expensive at all, don’t worry”
She said “no, I don’t want us to plant this tree in our yard. I might not give fruit until after we are gone, and it’ll make you sad to look at it”
I pleaded and said to please let us plant this tree, that it won’t make me sad but happy that at least we planted something together.
It’s been a few years since that day, and in all of the hustle and bustle of life, I had forgotten about that orange tree and forgotten of that day even.
Tonight, my grandparents sent me this photo of an orange from that very tree…
The photo of this orange and the memory of that day came rushing back to me. A tree I had planted years ago, and forgotten about, had finally given fruit…
Do those things you’ve been meaning to do. Don’t ever tell yourself that it’s too late, too soon, too much, or not enough. Just do those things you’ve been meaning to do.
Apologise to the people you’ve thrown your own shit at, and own it. Tell your family that you love them, and mean it.
Do things that will reverberate through eternity, even when we are unsure if we will.
Acknowledge mortality, do not ignore it. And despite your awareness of it, act bravely and risk your heart, your soul, your all.
Even it if all ends tomorrow, take your parents on that picnic or that overseas trip.
Pay attention to the things that you love. When the light is fading and the sun is setting is when some things are most beautiful.
Spend time with your grandparents. And most importantly… Go and plant trees with them. Because whether they are here to witness it or not, those trees will fruit, and those fruits will be sweet.
And even if we cease to exist, at least we threw something into the abyss of eternity.