There’s something magical about a garden.
Growing up, my parents and grandparents spent time with their hands in the soil. Planting, tending, weeding, watering, and harvesting.
As a girl, I watched as they worked the earth in quiet peace.
Although times were not always peaceful, the garden seemed to be a place of quiet.
I never really understood why they loved their time in the garden so much. It’s messy and dirty…the earth is ridden with worms and bugs, spiders and ants.
So much time and energy is put into those little seeds, coaxing them to grow, protecting them from animals, harvesting, and storing for them for winter.
But because we begin our adult life swearing we will never do what our parents did, quite predictably, we started our own garden a few years ago.
Our own little plot in the world, where my boys and I plant seeds. I dig a trench and they sow the seeds (and I try to fix them as best I can before we cover them up). And we do our best to help them grow. Here are a few photos from my garden last year.
But I’ve learned through the seasons that not every year reaps a good harvest.
Our first year we had more than we could eat; our garden was abundant and I canned, blanched, and froze fresh vegetables that lasted us through the winter. But one year our garden hardly produced.
We planted our seeds but many didn’t grow. We carefully covered sprouting life with nets but deer came in and destroyed. We had too much rain and too little sunshine. I was disappointed. I was mad. I even considered not gardening the next year. So much work, so little reward.
But you know what? I learned a lot in my unproductive garden that year.
I learned that sometimes the peace and stillness of the garden is enough. That a day with hands in the soil is a day well spent. That watching my boys pull their misshapen vegetables out of the soil by their roots, washing the dirt off with the hose, and snacking under the locust tree made my heart full.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon in my garden. Normally when I don’t know what I know, I write. But truth be told, I had no words to write. Nothing. Not one. So I wandered out to the yard where the blackberries had fallen into a tangled heap and the strawberry plants had died back and turned brown. I put on my gloves and I worked. I raked and tended, dug up and replanted, cut back, tied up and laid down straw. It reminds me of the small acts; the things unseen. The faithful sowing and tending that is required for a harvest.
And as much as I still don’t know, and as truly as the words won’t come, I do know this: A good life really is made of the simple things. A square of dirt, a packet of seeds, a willing heart, and eager hands.
And a garden certainly is a metaphor for life. We plant, we tend, we reap and we sow. Sometimes a death must come, in order to bring new life. And a good harvest truly is a great reward. But our joy is in the planting.
Start planting seeds. In your garden and in your life. You just never know what might come up.