Albuquerque Is a Small World / by Karie Luidens


Albuquerque is a small city. A small world, really. Live here three years and it’s like you know everyone, or at least keep running into the same people.

One of the presenters yesterday, Sayrah—I knew her name was familiar—also presented at last year’s library seed swap, where I stocked up on so many of the seeds for my garden. That bowl of tiny amaranth seeds? She brought those. The forest of fuchsia amaranth lining our wooden fence behind the tomatoes and eggplants grew from a single teaspoon of her generosity.

Another of the presenters was my friend’s younger brother. The last time I saw Nicolas, we were talking at a house party: I was scooping his homecooked beans from a crock pot into a bowl while he recommended one of his favorite cookbooks, Decolonize Your Diet. I dutifully read it a month later and was happy to add it to my bookshelf. It includes recipes for amaranth, by the way.

How funny to take a seat at that talk, look up, and realize I knew half the panel. I didn’t just know them, I’d grown their seeds and eaten their food.

Turns out, in the year since I’ve seen them, they’ve been busy. Nicolas camped out at Tornillo to protest the tent city where I.C.E. has housed thousands of children who were apprehended after crossing our southern border. Sayrah volunteers with asylum-seekers, helping to house, clothe, and feed them after I.C.E. releases them to makeshift shelters in Las Cruces.

It’s easy to feel useless, sitting at a dining room table, reading the news, close and far all at once. That’s how I felt the other day. But I’ve got the power to act, too. Start listening, and you’ll learn where action is needed.