Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gardening as an Act of Faith - Redeux

Two years ago I contemplated gardening as an act of faith. You would think that in the elapsed time I would have moved beyond the optimistic novice stage. I have not. Last spring we bulldozed the half collapsed shed that sheltered the wildflowers from the lawnmower and in a cruel act of geometry, the bulldozer’s path deposited the ruins atop my original vegetable garden plot. Sullenly resigned, I decided not to plant that spring, a choice that the summer’s blistering drought somewhat justified.

Sister Rain Wind brought a rainbow...and devastated the iris bed
Now the yard is emerging from a soggy, cool spring in a tangle lush glory. The early tomatoes at Farmer’s Market are the size of small melons. My fingers long to sink into the dirt, but my faith is being tested. Monsoon-like rains flooded 9/10ths of our yard and turned the lowlands between the spirit tree and the highway into a river. Its current ripped the freshly planted iris bulbs from their earthen bed. The daisies, now unprotected, twice thrust shoots toward the sky and were decapitated by the lawnmower. Grass quickly ran rampant in the children’s fairy garden. My shovel broke.

Bringing the garden inside
In the wake of the iris tragedy, I avoided the garden until yesterday. A friend arrived and asked for the grand-tour. He asked about the numerous half-finished projects. My only reply was that I’m a gardening-procrastinator. He proceeded to irreverently uproot the zucchini that had sprung up unexpected among the cilantro. He gave me mint and renewed my faith.

By evening the chickens had ripped the zucchini sprouts back out of the ground. I replanted them.  I hauled over reclaimed timber to build a bed for the lilies I had impulsively purchased on sale last week. I planted the lilies in the dark. I prepared honeysuckled cuttings for transfer. I gathered bright bouquets of flowers from the abandoned gardens of foreclosed houses.

Lilies and glimpse of the fairy garden
If gardening is an act of faith, then I am agnostic. I remain uncertain that I will ever comprehend the green face of god. Yet even the Pope claims that non-believers can find heaven’s gardens on the path of their good-works. So I tend the plants entrusted to my care and hope it will be enough.

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