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Lessons From The Garden

I have been gardening for over 15 years (I’m not really that old I just started young!!) Each year the garden teaches me like a wise professor, it builds its lesson on the precepts of the year before. I love spring mornings in the greenhouse and late summer nights weeding in the twilight. Growing a garden is a laborious romance. The soil courts the plants until they burst forth and bear fruit. The gardener is kind of like a waiter in a nice restaurant. He brings the plants and the soil what they need, making sure their water glass is full but mostly watching the romance unfold from the sidelines.

Early spring was chaos for me to say the least. I was very pregnant in March which is also the time we start the bulk of our seedlings. I kept thinking about my never ending to do list and taking short cuts wherever I could. Usually I map out exactly where I will plant everything in January and from that map, check our seed inventory and order whatever we are lacking so it is here in plenty of time to plant. In my pompous pride I decided I didn’t have time this year so I decided to just wing it and hope for the best. That was a big mistake I thought to myself on the last week of March. It was almost my due date, sitting on a stool in my greenhouse when I realized I forgot to save seeds the previous summer of our favorite variety the Ukrainian Tomato. It was far too late to order seeds at this point because with shipping time they wouldn’t get here until May. As I glumly peaked into last year’s empty seed packet something caught my eye. Tucked in the corner at the bottom of the envelope was one meager Ukrainian Tomato seed.

As I held the planting cup in my hand full of soil, I thought to myself it will probably never germinate but how would I know if I don’t plant it, so I did. I filled out a tag for it and plopped it in a flat with a bunch of other tomato varieties. Shortly afterwards I forgot all about it. Our daughter was born a few days later and the next couple weeks my husband took over tending to the seedlings while I recovered.

When I finally ventured down to the basement to move the seedlings out to our greenhouse I noticed one tomato stood almost 4” taller than the rest. As I fingered at its name tag I was shocked to see it was that one single Ukrainian seed that I had found tucked in the corner of the envelope. I moved it outside and it began to grow even faster and hardier than before. It is now the last week of May and that sweet little tomato plant is triple the size of its companions and already starting to bear fruit.

This is truly a story of resilience. For some reason I kept last years seed packet, and for some reason I peered inside even though I knew it was empty and that little seed caught my eye. I planted it, neglected it but the creator had called it higher. That sweet lonely seed grew forth into a strong and resilient plant that will bear much fruit and bring forth a multitude of plants for the coming season in its new seed.

I know I can be a bit day dreamy about these things and some might think its silly but I truly believe we must pay attention even to the smallest details of our lives. Nature is a reflection of the creator and the more we dance with it the more we learn His character. He calls on the least of us. The forgotten, the neglected and the overshadowed to rise up and bear fruit. If we do not answer that call, what does that mean for the generation after us?

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