In Growth & Queerness

In Growth & Queerness

All that you touch. You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.
—Octavia Butler

During summer 2020, I started watching The New Pope. I only watched a few episodes, having decided to pivot to sitcoms, which seemed a wiser choice given, you know, the overall mood and madness. But in one of those first few episodes of The New Pope, there was one scene and one particular quote from that scene that stuck with me. “The only evidence of life is growth.” (Said by John Henry Newman). I think back on it; it helps anchor me and even guides me now. I don’t know much about John Henry Newman, but I really love the dense simplicity of the quote and the concept. 

Frequently throughout the year, me and my twins Shepherd and Griffin (and sometimes if we’re lucky, my sister) head over to see my mother and her partner Fred, who live near Chincoteague, VA. It’s a rural area near the ocean and mom and Fred are as lovely as they come, so it’s a place I’m grateful to be able to visit and enjoy regularly. 

The living is slow and easy while we’re there. There is an easy rhythm to the day. We relax as best we can given what’s going on in our lives, and make sure to enjoy each other’s company. We take it slow. We eat together. We play games. We look at the sunsets; usually having full conversations about them. We spend a lot of time outside. We take walks to the creek, or down the main road. In a big group, in small groups, or alone, as suits the situation.

We check out the garden, which is part of Fred’s Field, and was originally created by Fred, and has been co-cultivated with my mother since she moved there 13 years ago. We see what’s coming along. We check on the status of the garden, admiring the beauty and diversity of what’s growing… or soon to be growing. We smell herbs. We appreciate the garden know-how of Fred and my mother. Because it takes a lot of love and attention to tend a garden; to dedicate yourself to growing plants, different plants with different needs, to seeing them from seed to fruit, year after year. Shepherd and Griffin are naturally drawn to it all, always asking the most questions as they radiate curiosity about the world around them. 

While it’s winter and the garden is far from full swing, I’m grateful for the lessons of Fred’s Field, and for my better ability to listen for and digest lessons since I came out as very queer; since I came out as myself. To embrace my queerness is to embrace growth and living and my full self. And if the only evidence of life is growth… I know my choice.

🌱🌈 In growth and queerness, and with love,

P.S. Anybody as much of a fan of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania as I am? Yow. So good.

Some photos from Fred’s Field for you all:


  1. John Guy

    Good Afternoon Sara – Thank you for your essay ,and the ease with which you chose to share your gardening ,growth ,and queerness with us . It’s all A-OK. And bless you for you being you . So glad you are in the UUCC milieu and helping us find the future and growth of UUCC.
    And Longwood Gardens has been my most favorite hangout for over 50 years. Let’s chat about its awesomeness sometime.

  2. Suzanne Henig

    Thank you for sharing, Sara! It’s hard but important to reflect on our growth amid our day-to-day distractions. Fred’s Field looks simply wonderful. I’ve made a note to visit next summer.

  3. Gail Thompson

    A difficult topic beautifully stated. I can relate to Fred’s Field and the joy of experimenting with something different each year. Sometimes even the tried and true surprise me by morphing just a bit. Then I think of how I grow, sometimes as expected and sometimes in surprising leaps to becoming something unexpected. So I talked to my plants, encouraging them to grow just as each must and promise I will keep feeding and watering them no matter what.
    Enjoy discovering your queerness. We will feed, water and love you no matter what. Love most of all.

  4. Jill Christianson

    Thank you Sara, for sharing your truths.

    Gail T – I love “we will feed, water, and love you no matter what.”

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