Friday, April 17, 2009

A garden: "gift and accomplishment"

"Gardening is not only making the world around us beautiful once more but letting beauty transform us. Gardening grows from our deep longing for salvation, so that beauty fills our lives." - Guroian

Sunday I was almost late for church (not good for a pastor on Easter) because I was so captivated by Armenian Orthodox priest Vigen Guroian talking about Easter and gardening on the radio program Speaking of Faith. I could relate to his statement,
"The garden has taught me that beauty is both gift and accomplishment."
Our garden is an accomplishment. It took hard work and long hours to get to this point. The tilled soil is rich and dark; the beds are built; the compost bin is up; and the kids' seedlings are watered and growing. That all took effort.

So much about this garden, however, has been gift.

For instance, we were troubling over wood for the raised beds. Didn't want it to be chemically treated but also didn't have the budget for nice new cedar boards. Tim found a mill that gave us beautiful pieces of wood for free. Because they're the first cuts of trees they're not straight, useful boards. But they're useful to us! When those start to decay in a few years (adding nutrients to our soil), they'll give us more. Free.

We were concerned about soil conditions. I happened to call someone who happened to tell me about leaf mold, free from Takoma Park. They suck up leaves from the streets in the fall and mulch them to give away in the spring. We got a truckful and the soil is beautifully rich and dark. Ready for planting. Gift.

Easter morning, I'd only been in church for a few minutes when I was handed a bagful of seed potatoes to give to Another member who'd offered to take them home to plant because our garden isn't big enough. Thanks to both of them, we'll have rows of potatoes to give away. Gift, gift.

This weekend we'll do more than celebrate our garden. We'll have a whole Creation Care Carnival with activities, special music and a blessing of the garden.
I'm looking forward to that, but not as much as I'm looking forward to the beauty of that first tomato off the vine. There's still lots of work to be done to get to that point, but that means there will also be plenty of gifts along the way.

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