I spent part of the weekend sowing seeds for this year’s garden. I’m about 2 months ahead of last year’s start, so I’m actually on time for frost dates in South Carolina. Every couple of weeks I’ll add to the collection of pots with a different set of seeds. The plan is to have more than a bumper crop of squash this time.
As is often the case with writers’ minds, one thought bleeds into another and you never know where you’ll end up. As I scooped out the peat mix and dropped the tiny seeds, I thought about the bigger picture of gardens. Here it is the middle of January and I’m already planting a spring garden, already anticipating saving seeds from this harvest to plant for next year. While I understand the science behind all those seeds inside a melon or pepper, I’m still in awe of how many there are, all that potential for more plants. There’s a built-in sense of hope with growing veggies and flowers.
The natural cycle of gardening is also a source of comfort. Each season brings its own work, pleasure and beauty so there’s a continual reminder of renewal and order, even if there are surprises, glitches, or adventures along the way. There’s a reminder that even in the ‘dead of winter’, many things aren’t really dead. Wilted plants are storing up nutrients, and rotting leaves are hosts for insect eggs.
That idea of seasons and cycles made me think of the liturgical seasons–having just finished Christmastide and now being in Ordinary Time. We’ll be here for a few weeks until Ash Wednesday moves us into Lent.
Then another transition and cycle came to mind. Wednesday our country will undergo its own transition as a new president is sworn into office. My prayer is that it will be a peaceful transfer of power–I’ll be watching the inauguration with rosary beads in hand. But peaceful or not, there will be a transition. The cycle of democracy will continue. There is work, pleasure and beauty–and comfort–in that as well.
Yesterday my phone let me know my screen time was down 23% from last week. That’s a huge and welcome drop. Part of the reason for the decline was being aware and just not looking as much. But another part is that I specifically chose not to read as many newsfeeds about the current White House resident and his family. With only 2.5 days left in office, it feels as if their lives are slowly transitioning off the front page. I know they won’t ever completely disappear, but they’ll no longer merit the space in my head and that is incredibly freeing.
“. . . a time for planting the seeds and the time for pulling up, the time for killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building up . . .” Ecclesiastes 3
We all have our personal seasons, our times of weeping and rejoicing, of being silent and for speaking. Today we honor a man who exemplified that scripture, Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s obviously often quoted, but I think one quote in particular fits with this coming week, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
For me, it is a season to plant and I choose to plant peace and hope . . . and for now, collards, celery, kale, rutabagas and kohlrabi.
What is it you are planting?