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July 10, 2020

Soulpepper Perspectives: Raha Javanfar

Back in early June, I was asked to write a blog entry. At the time, I submitted the photo on the left, and some writing about how COVID-19 had been affecting my life so far, the activities I was filling my time with, and how much I missed live theatre and music. 

I haven’t done much gardening in my life — dabbled a bit a few sporadic seasons here and there. This year, as I’ve ventured into this activity head on, I’ve encountered aphids, cucumber beetles, leaf eating caterpillars, soil deficiencies, lack of sun, and probably a whole lot of over-care and over-watering that I’m still unaware of. But alas, the cucumber plants are flowering, the tomatoes are slowly emerging, and the lettuce has been bountiful. 

Like my garden, I myself have spent the last six weeks undergoing a messy growth spurt. The brutal events that shook the world shook me in a way I hadn’t felt before. I think that like many socially-conscious, left-leaning artists, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was always aware of the injustices and racism present in the world. At various times, I had studied and examined certain events more closely, but never before had I taken the time to read, read and read some more like I have this past month. I am mostly embarrassed and ashamed by this. Why did it take me so long? Why did it take what it took for me to feel so affected, so disappointed, so angry? Much like with gardening, the more I read and the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. A total novice! I am certain that in the past, what were genuinely good intentions (over-watering?) probably left a terrible impact and hurt people in ways I never meant to. 

Well, I’ve had my eyes on my strawberry plants for weeks now. Any day now they will flower. Or maybe they won’t until next year. The important thing is to sustain a healthy level of care and be patient. I may be incredulously late on some of my own personal growth, but I have to accept that it won’t happen overnight. But I do pledge to stick with it and water carefully.