My nephew, James graduated on May 18th from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York a few weekends ago – with honors. My brother’s only son has accomplished a task that has made all of us very proud of him. He is now free, in a way, to chart his own course to success. He will continue on to Wake forest where he will work on his Masters, another rite of passage towards freedom. Each of Jame’s family members – from his parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins – played a part in the cultivation of this young man. Even his crazy aunt (Me) with the funny “dress” high top tennis shoes. I tried to plant the seed of individuality and just being himself. After all, no one likes an impostor or the person who just goes along to get along. Strong leaders are true to themselves…….
Which leads me to the second part of my Freedom Weekend. I could not go to Upstate new York without attempting to make an effort to pay homage to a Shero of mine. As a little girl, I have always admired and respected strong women. Women who rocked the boat …but did not fall off. Women who felt confidant in their freedom of choice always seemed to get my attention. One of these women was short in stature, strong willed in spirit, defiant by nature and was true to herself in every way imaginable. She settled for little that was not right, spoke of freedom and then just made it happen – boldly and confidently. This woman was called the Moses of her people. Her original name was Araminta Ross, but I know, admire and love her as Harriet Tubman.
Fort Hill Cemetary Entrance
Schematic noting who is buried there and where
I knew that her burial took place at the Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York. She is buried in a place where many other people of note are buried as well. How could I be so close and not pay homage to this wonderful, powerful and fearless woman. I had to stop and ask a couple of neighborhhood people who were standing outside, if I was at the right entrance to the Cemetery where Ms. Harriet Tubman-Davis slept. They directed me to go in and bear to my left towards the West Lawn C and go down the curve and she was resting under a big tree. My nerves were right under my skin, or so it felt as I cautiously ventured into the Fort Hill Cemetery and my eyes welled up with tears. There were many large trees and I asked my grandsons and my godson to assist me in this search.
It was music to my ears when my eldest grandson, Tyree, clearly and calmly stated “Grandma – it is right here Harriet Tubman – Davis”. With caution I proceeded to the marker that sat between two small boxwoods and at the base of a wonderful huge evergreen…..it was here that I wept…. I had found my Shero.
Mrs. Harriet Tubman-Davis resting with memento’s of previous visitors before me. I brought nothing to share with her except my words of promise. A commitment of sorts to continue my quest of freedom to share my love of gardening, educate others about the freedom of expression that gardening allows and to make every attempt to share my horticultural skills with others who are interested in gardening, by giving back to my community. After all, she gave of herself to her people with total abandon..
Cultivating another persons gardening skills, can help with beautification efforts within the community or their own dwelling, can lead to potential employment opportunities and enhance a personal appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us daily. After all, as a people, this is what we know.
I sincerely appreciate Mrs. Tubman and everything that she accomplished in her lifetime. Talk about a woman on a mission……..she knew she could be free, so she just kept walking. Her only plan was to convince others that she could find freedom by following the North Star, size up the people she met along the way and be successful in her efforts Simply by allowing the stars be her guide. Sort of like gardening, sometimes there is no plan only inspiration. You find a plot, a plant and then you have the freedom to build and create an abundance of beauty that will surround you………….Freedom to wear my beaded dress tennis shoes whenever and wherever I want….what a mindset and what a weekend!!!
Have you found your freedom???