May Day

May Day traditionally marked the return of spring.  Through the years, the celebrations have changed and morphed until it now passes, in most cases, as just a day on the calendar.  While I have always thought the celebration of May Day was quaint and nice, I have never actually participated in the more traditional celebrations – maypoles and leaving flowers on a neighbor’s doorstep.  My May Day celebration was a more visceral and practical celebration on our farm.

The day began as usual with chores – of which I shall not bore you with another run-down of feeding animals – breakfast, Bible reading, and prayer followed by homeschooling.  We always “do” our homeschool first because if we become involved in other pursuits, well…

After finishing up our school work and having leftovers for lunch, I headed out to the garden.  I had a nice crop of weeds taking over the vegetable beds – and I needed to remove the volunteers before planting what I want to grow.  The weather was almost perfect for me – cool, cloudy, and breezy.  I prefer that kind of weather when working outside.  Cool means I don’t sweat like a hog – which by-the-way, do not sweat; they roll in the mud to keep cool.  Cloudy means I do not look like a lobster with goosebumps by the time I am done gardening – I’m sensitive to the sun and end up with an itchy, bumpy rash when I am sunburned.  Breezy means natural bug control – I hate bugs.  So my day was shaping up quite nicely.  I blew through most of the garden this afternoon making it look pretty presentable and ready for planting.  Hubby was kind enough to dump several loads of composted manure into the finished beds – so now begins the turning and mixing in of dirt and compost to make a most amazing canvas for vegetable and herbs.

After dumping the weeds in our brush pile, I completed afternoon chores – complete with calf time while momma was eating her grain.  Sammy is so silky soft and eager for scratches behind his ears – and then jumpy and nervous that someone besides momma is touching him.  After momma was done, I turned my bucket over and sat in the pasture watching momma and baby grazing contentedly.  I feel sometimes that I could sit all day watching the farm animals – but there are many other things pulling at me that prevent such a luxury as lounging in a field all day.

As I reflect on the day, I am thinking of spiritual connections between gardening and our lives.  I have shared before how my main crop tends to be weeds.  I can grow them bigger and better than any flower or vegetable.  As I was pulling weeds today, I thought how weeds in the garden are a picture of sin in our lives – weeds, like sins, start out small and do not seem harmful.  We can overlook them until they take a firm root in the fertile soil of our lives.  Weeds with deep roots- deeper than we can dig out- are like unchecked sin in our lives.  It takes root and grows, snuffing out the good fruit that should be in our lives.  Weeds, like sin, take over until all that is left is ugliness and an uncontrolled life.  It takes the gentle hands of the Master Gardener to dig deeply into the soil of our hearts, loosening the fingers of sin until we are free from the ugliness of it.  The Master Gardener cleans up the garden of our soul so that real fruit can grow and thrive in the rich soil of our hearts.

It was a great day.

Breath of Spring

As I sit here pondering how to express my thoughts the breeze is blowing, the sun is shining, and the soft carpet of green is spreading across the landscape.  What a glorious time of year this is!  My snowdrops are still blooming in their shaded spot behind the garage, my daffodils and hyacinths are pushing their emerald stalks toward the warmth of the sun – just waiting to burst forth in fragrant golden and amethyst splendor.  I confess that this is just about my favorite time of year – that time when new life and color are just about to pop.  In less than a month the rolling hills will be whispering with tiny leaves unfurling and giving life to the barren landscape.

This is the time of year that my head swims with possibilities – a lush flower garden blooming with a spectacular display of color, a vegetable garden laden with ruby red tomatoes, succulent lettuce varieties, colorful carrots and onions…you get the point.  And if you know me, you know that every year I strive for that beautiful vision.  You also know that in the heat of summer that I resign myself to the incredible variety of weeds that I am able to grow.  Oh, there are some flowers that manage to overcome the choking grip of the volunteer army of weeds.  I also manage a fair harvest of vegetables each year to sustain my small family.  But my true talent lies not in carefully cultivated flower beds and rows of picture perfect vegetables, but in the wild disarray of those invasive “natural” plants that just will not go away.  Buried deep within me is a master gardener with the greenest thumb you’ve ever seen – but right now that green thumb is a deep, dark, almost black thumb that keeps hoping and dreaming of the day when the eternally hopeful gardener emerges from her slumber.

I think it is good to strive toward a goal – and not to give up year after year when the vision in your head is only in your head.  Keep striving.  Keep planting.  Keep dreaming.  And don’t forget to pull the weeds along the way.