Tall As A Thistle

by Bingran Zeng April 30, 2013

A few days ago, I saw the blossom of a huge thistle growing in a natural cemetery I visited in Gainesville, Florida called Prairie Creek. Thistles have long been our symbol at Thistle Farms of the weed that grows where the women walk and sleep, how each one has a beautiful purple center and reminds us that everything on God's green earth is beloved. I wanted to show our friends the 10' tall thistle plants nearby that still haven't bloomed. I carry the community of Thistle Farms with me on the road, laughing about stories I remember, fretting over money, missing being a part of our meditation circle and worrying about the most vulnerable among the women we serve who are still suffering.

When I saw these thistles I wanted to gather the whole community, hold hands and sing our hearts out. I wanted us to sing because in the middle of even an old cemetery there is life and it is powerful and stunning. These thistles have tap roots that must reach down another 10'. That means this plant, not yet fully grown is over 20' high. It is nurtured by the earth around it and by it's fore-bearers that offered  their seeds from wind and rain to take root.

This is how I see the community of Thistle Farms right now: 20' high and growing taller from the trials of opening new businesses, launching a conference and even burying friends and family this year. Our community was planted on rich soil and we have nothing to fear. Our community is standing 20' tall and it is a sign of love's power and grace. I am holding all the women who still are on the streets and suffering in troubled fields from sexual violence, mental health, trauma, loneliness, and trafficking in my thoughts at the foot of this giant thistle. The story and perseverance are part of what makes our thistle stand tall in the troubled fields of this world. With more gratitude and love than I have words for, I am a thistle farmer.

Peace and love, 
Becca Stevens---
Thistle Farmer
Bingran Zeng
Bingran Zeng

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