Wednesday, April 19, 2017

“Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

The wind has quieted and sun warms my shoulders as I work in solitude and silence, the only one in the community garden. I rake the soil, put stepping “stones” in place, and ponder the best place to plant things this season.

I form a shallow trench with my hands, then pluck a white plastic marker from my bucket of supplies and write with my Sharpie: Red Russian Kale. I sprinkle a few seeds from the packet into my left hand and pause.

The seeds are so small and I am caught up in the wonder that they will produce enough food to nourish us throughout the summer and long into the winter. I remember that I’ve still got kale in the freezer from last year’s garden, and make a mental note to make some soup to use it up soon.

I pinch a few seeds from the palm of my hand and drop them sparingly into the trench, mindful of the need to thin the plants when they come up. I stop halfway across the row and place a marker across it: I’ll sow Darkibor kale in the rest of the row.

I continue the slow, mindful, miracle-making process with seeds for arugula, radishes, and Hakurei salad turnips. When I’m finished, I put the tools and seed packets back in my bucket, take everything to the car, and return to the garden to water.

Best gardening practice is not to water with a sprayer–irrigation hoses and sprinkles are more effective, especially in the heat of summer–but I love doing it this way. I stand with my sprayer admiring the growth, imagining what will be, pondering this-or-that, at complete peace.

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Yesterday I showed you the lilacs buds just beginning to form. I took this photo last year at this time. As you can see, it’s an entirely different spring this year.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Reading this post, I can feel your peace. Truly you have inspired me to want to put in a garden, and to experience the satisfaction of nurturing, harvesting, and living off the land. Thank you!

    1. Oh do, Beth! Tending a garden is such a rich and simple pleasure! Plus, you get the most delicious veggies. 🙂

  2. The lilacs are so sweet. I enjoyed reading about your garden. We had success with seeds for our butterfly garden this spring. The little neighbor girl will be thrilled if we have lots of butterflies to watch!

    1. Oh how fun, Mildred! Butterflies will thrill your neighbors and, I bet, you as well. 🙂

  3. Your planting is like a dance in the garden. Love the way you write about it! And thank you for the pic of the lilacs…they remind me of Mom. 🙂

    1. It seems that so many people, myself included, say that lilacs remind them of their mom. There’s just something so special about them.

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