This morning my friend and I watched as the American Robins feasted on the red holly berries – not one or two, but lots of Robins, feasting on the goodness of nature, gulping down the red berries - stuffing themselves with a hearty communal breakfast before setting about their task of building their first nest of the season. I love it that they stick together – friends – enjoying the bounty provided for them before launching into their work of the season.
For birds, that work is nesting. For gardeners, it is planting. I am back in my garden, launching the effort for 2010. The first warm days sent me scurrying out to spread compost, sharpen tools, and buy seeds. I have been watching the sun, trying to anticipate its path for optimum benefit for my small kitchen garden. And I am finding new places to reclaim for my much desired tomatoes – a place that’s not only sunnier, but in full view of the squirrels who are also watching me, anticipating the juicy, succulent fruit as much as I am. This year, I am determined to eat more tomatoes than those little pests. If I am successful, there will be plenty for both of us.
So I planted some cool weather vegetables. Brussel Sprouts seem to be an in-style veggie, so I planted those. I am envisioning cutting the little cabbages off the stalk, cutting them in half and sautéing them. I also planted two rows of sugar snap peas and created a trellis for them to climb toward the sun – with those I imagine a nice stir fry. I planted some lettuce varieties and onions and radishes and my mouth can already taste that first spring salad – estimated time until eating – 65 days!
What I love about all of this is others are growing things too. Our church is starting a community garden. My neighborhood has garden plots and we are chatting about things like manure and bone meal and all of us are dreaming of the fruits of our effort. It’s fresh and promising. If you haven’t stuck your bare hands down into the earth, pushed little seeds down into the soil and covered them like you were bedding down a baby, you haven’t lived. See, there is this promise of growth – that with the sunshine and the rain and the warming temperatures and our nurturing, those little seeds will sprout and grow and climb and bear fruit. And so we must tend the garden.
Solomon made some serious observations about the way we live – “a season for every activity under heaven”. And the Byrds sang it – you know the words – turn, turn, turn. Solomon also said that God has set eternity in the hearts of men and we don’t understand it, but we can trust it and enjoy it as he gives us glimpses in creation. Like the little “glimpse” of a fact I noticed watching the weather channel. Of course we all know the days are getting longer. But did you know that the earth turns just enough for the sun to rise one-two minutes earlier each day until June? No more, no less – just a steady, ticking of time, a minute or two a day. I guess that’s why we love spring – the days are longer and we have more light in which to work. Solomon also said that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work. This season - a season of light-filled mornings, longer days, and warmer temperatures we should ask ourselves the question, “Am I enjoying my work?”