(note: this was written in response to the act of terrorism perpetrated against the Jewish community in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on October 27, 2018. )
I grew up in Squirrel Hill. When I was a little girl, five, six, seven years old…a little girl… in the spring, my father and I would go to a nursery and buy flats of pansies and petunias and bring them home to plant in the awakening garden on the hillside property surrounding the brick house he had bought shortly after I was born. He’d pretty much grown up in Squirrel Hill. I grew up in my father’s garden. In my memory, the nursery where those flowers came from was very close to the Tree of Life Synagogue.
My father shared the love of that garden and its expression of life with me. I still love gardening. A cousin of mine once said to me, “Wherever you go, work in the garden so that wherever you go there is a garden. I do that. And when I do, I remember my father and his garden in Squirrel Hill.
It is interesting to read articles that are currently being written about Squirrel Hill, articles that describe it, define it. Now Squirrel Hill is part of the story that is the awful history of gun violence in this country. A place named Tree of Life has become a place associated with death. But I have to believe that the roots are strong. And the branches will hold. And though we heading into the dark time of year and what feels to be a very dark time in our country, we must hold the thought that spring will come again and the Flowers will bloom again and the Trees will return Green and Strong.