First the “Builder Bradfords,” then an errant fruit orchard or wild sand plum tree here and there along a creek, maybe a dogwood or two, certainly the magnolias… Now today the Redbuds, Forsythia, and Roses of Sharon are waking up. Slowly but surely our Oklahoma hills and forests are breaking dormancy and taking on the gentle blush of springtime. Daffodils, tulips, pansies, the earliest shoots of day-lilies and cool-season veggies, so many delicate splashes of color everywhere. The muted browns and grays of winter will soon be forgotten, and we don’t even care if half the flat green we see is from weeds.
Almost every year I forget how powerful the surge of new life is, how thrilling that first glimpse of a sprouted seed can be (I almost cried yesterday when my indoor marigold seeds had grown a centimeter in a few hours!) or how exciting it is when forgotten perennials reappear without my help. Science now proudly declares that skin contact with warm earth is good for us physically, too, that healthy soil contains depression-fighting microbes or some such? That, plus the undeniable deep bliss we get from the close-approaching sun this time of year… Friends, we are about to shed all those winter doldrums for good. Or at least for a good long while. Hang in there, okay?
Whether you’re an avid and experienced gardener or you just crave to grow a thing or seven, dive in. Dive in now, with both feet wearing flip flops and both hands, un-gloved, fingernails ready to scrape up some dirt. Do not waste time changing clothes or making a fancy list and plan; just start. Ignore your housework for an hour. This is the perfect time. Seize the sun and all his energy. Use whatever quarters and dollar bills you can find under the couch cushions and go buy the first seeds you find (lettuce and spinach are excellent things to start in March). Scratch up some soil. Plant those tiny babies. Tuck them in lovingly, with exactly the same native soil as you just scratched up. Water them gently.
Know that you have just become part of a miracle. Savor that idea.
My gosh. It’s only seeds, right? It’s only food that we eat all the time anyway, cheap and easy enough to buy at the grocery store, ready for dinner. But it’s actually the biggest miracle ever. It’s new life, the stuff of energy and motion and health, all from this tiny, inconspicuous fleck of brown that when touched by the right elements at the right time are brought into the fullness of all those promises imprinted by the Maker. He said this will become lettuce, and this kale, and this spinach. He said so, and it always happens that way.
Do you know what else He said? He said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
How truly stunning, that while gardening we have this opportunity to participate in so many little (but huge!) miracles. How amazing to see His plan worked out over and over again, so many promises fulfilled that at first we are shocked by it all; then eventually we are so surrounded by lushness that maybe we take it for granted.
Of course, the biggest, strongest, most long lasting treasures, like maybe oak trees? They take a lot longer to grow. You really have to be willing to wait. I have to remind myself of this when I ache for the biggest prayers to be answered. It will be worth the wait. It will be strong and beautiful when it finally happens. These words echo in my ribs and belly.
Life is so beautiful, friends. Winter is hard and sometimes ugly, and it’s dangerous and it breaks our spirits a little. But springtime always, always, without exception, returns. The sun warms us. The earth thaws and breaks open with abundance. Color and texture explode, sometimes to feed us and other times just to delight our senses.
God loves you. He loves you so much and He wants your prayers to be answered. He wants you to live a happy, peaceful, successful, fulfilling life. There are hidden meanings to the wintry seasons we all endure, but they are only seasons. And He works it all out. Then He comforts us with seeds and sprouts and new life. (And we get veggies! And tulips!)
Are you interested in some slightly more practical gardening ideas this year? Something beyond “find spare change and throw down the first seeds you find?” haha Please stay tuned. I have lots of fun ideas for us. In the mean time, stay hopeful. Keep planting seeds. Keep trusting. And enjoy the slow parade of color. It’s about to get out of control. As always, thanks so much for visiting.
“Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist,
but where there is suffering you will find grace
in many facets and colors.”
~William Paul Young, The Shack