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“Grandmother Plum”

A Poem by Pauline, Recovery Café Member

I have questions for my Grandmother Plum, who has seen so much over the years. I wonder and worry if she is in pain. I wonder if she is disappointed that none of her children grow where they land, for hers is a sweet but sadly sterile fruit. I wonder if she misses any of the people who used to live beneath her, or if we flitted through her leaves like the wind since so many, many years have come and gone since her first being planted. I wonder does she miss where she sprouted before she was harvested for the nursery? Does she talk to the apple tree next door? Does she envy it’s production, or find it annoying like we do? Is she proud of it as a show of tree solidarity? Do they gossip like old maids? Do they have a rivalry? You would think they were trying to see who can drop the most fruit! I should tell her she wins, because the apple tree has more apples but they are inedible, so I disqualify her! Nothing beats a purple black plum you can eat fresh off the branch. Do you mind, Grandma Plum, that we eat your fruit? Do you notice the squirrels and birds that nibble on you? Nest in you?

I wonder, can she teach a new generation the secrets of longevity and life she seems to know? There is a flush of new growth coming in, so eager to live and climb and branch out. I hope she is going to welcome the honeysuckle and heather, like an ambassador of their new home. They will need all the help they can get. I will try to tell them I gave them the best start in life I could, but they should look to their Grandmother to learn how to live here. Can they weather the, well, weather? Can they survive the drought or the wind or the freeze? How has she?

All these years and she will not stop. Almost falling over and she will not stop. Scorching summers and snow in winter and blossoms in spring that somehow find bees…Where did you find the strength, Grandma Plum, to keep going? How did you develop such strong roots? Can you teach me?

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Poems like this are possible through the support of our funders. 4Culture has been a longtime faithful investor in the healing work of Recovery Café, particularly through healing art. Their financial support has sustained classes in our School for Recovery as well as celebrations like our monthly Open Mic events. Our  Safe Place Writers Group embodies the spirit of 4Culture. It is facilitated by renowned author and writing teacher Anna Balint and makes written art an enriching experience that is accessible to everyone in our community. Even during COVID, this class continued in an online format. Sustaining the arts even in hard times is critical. We know firsthand the magic of expressive art shared with a caring audience. In the Café, original works of prose, poetry and songs, to name a few, have helped us create a sacred space where we all seek to know and be known.  

We were ecstatic to be informed that this year 4Culture will be granting us $10,000 as they distribute federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act! This comes at perfect timing for us as we work to re-engage people in recovery who have been so impacted by the isolation of the last two years. This funding will help us continue the Safe Place Writers Group, Open Mics, and add additional programming. Specifically we are exploring programing that uses expressive art as a means of processing grief and loss.