My Uncle Joe’s little garden is still producing beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I push aside feelings of longing for my husband and my India. September has come, and I am still in America. These things happen, unexpected changes to life. Actually, I view it more as fluctuation—an ability to adapt to change—like learning how to ride sidesaddle on a horse, or adapting to the motion of a camel ride—a triangular movement. Whatever it may be, right now, my journey feels different from the usual path up the mountain. I’m treading very carefully, gently yet firmly. Spiritual guidance provides the strength. God carries me where I am unable to travel on my own.

These past three weeks, my family and I, but mostly my mother and I have been clearing my dear uncle’s house after his passing. While his departure in physicality feels so finite and sudden—I feel that he is very much alive in the next world. This I leave for you to ponder for a while. It’s too personal to explain, as it is something that many cannot substantiate unless they, too, have had this kind of experience. Death is something familiar to me. I’ve lost many over the years, including three friends before I was 18.  

I consider a successful life not solely one of financial success, but a life of striving for personal and spiritual maturity, striving to be a person who has a big heart for service to humanity, service to nature. My uncle lived his life as such.

We’ve been sifting through his belongings, specifically, his endless files of letters, friendly cards from students, scientific data, his books, his manuscript, his personal notes, observing his Spartan lifestyle. My mother and I grow to understand more deeply, who this very private person was/is, this special being who loved nature so much, who made it his life. I’m so happy to be allowed this honor.

I mentioned in my previous blog that Uncle Joe examined everything. Not only the fine details on an insect that he caught in the field, but also his examination to certain situations, people, or to the larger picture in life, to his interest in psychology so that he could understand himself within the framework of his life. He wrote to many people about the things he was most interested. We found a signed letter from BF Skinner.

The other day Uncle Joe’s close friend came by for a visit, and I picked him two bags of Italian broad beans and cucumbers from his garden. We visited for six hours, sharing what we knew, experienced, and loved. We became friends also. Uncle Joe’s garden is still prolific, and true to his spirit, he is still sharing.