Spring is arriving in Leiper's Fork. The bluebirds are coming back and frogs leap from the creek bank as I walk passed. It is time to think about the garden and if I am to have one this year. Last year we weren't able to get one in as we were out of the house while it got repaired from the fire, so I was quite anxious about getting started on one this spring.
We decided on a spot in a clearing amongst the pine trees where there would be good sun during the day. The area is just south of the barn which will protect tender plants from a northern wind. Last summer we planted a few fruit trees there, so the location seems perfect for a garden too. We waited until a rain softened the soil and then broke out the tiller. (The same tiller that hung off the back of our moving truck announcing our arrival to the folks in the hollow that we were here and ready to break some ground!) The dirt was wet and clumpy and the mud stuck to everything...this is some mighty fine clay soil out here, I think someday I'm going to till some more up and make an adobe garden house out of it. But in a few days as things began to dry the ground was ready to be worked; raked and leveled and cleared and amended. Ready for seeds and tender new plants. Ready for willing hands to help keep seedlings from being choked by weeds or ravaged by insects. Ready for gentle rains and yummy sunshine. Ready to burst into life with just the right combination of nature and nurture. We can hardly wait to see what it brings forth.
The tending of a garden is not that unlike the tending of children. In the beginning there is nothing but a promise of life. That something is there that will eventually be seen, but for a time it remains hidden. Then emerging into view, to feel the warmth of the sun, to drink in the air, to be known that there is new life. Carefully we care for it, giving small amounts of nutrients, guarding it from the harshness of the day, making the way easier for growth. Soon it becomes stronger yet we still cautiously feed and water it. Then we find that we are checking on it less often but are amazed at the little one's progress at each milestone when we do. Things change quickly now. We boast at how well the little one is thriving. We no longer pull little weeds from among it's roots with our fingers, but get aggressive with the hoe. The little one may get knocked over in our over zealous efforts, but we right it back up again, press the roots firmly in the ground, sigh, and continue on. Buds begin to set, then bloom. The little one has almost reached it purpose, it's beginning, we can see it, we can anticipate it. It's going to be lovely.
As all children are lovely. Even those that did not get sewn in a garden tended by love. Even those that struggled to find sunlight among the thickets. Even those that rose up too quickly, or those that sat underneath the snow. In fact, they are to be considered even more lovely, for any flower, or bud or fruit that they are able to bring forth is one truly worthy of amazement.