I stare down at the plantless dirt at my feet and scowl. I straighten the baseball cap protecting my scalp from the hot sun. The Len likes it when I wear his caps, says it makes me look tough. Today I hope that’s true.
I spend the next few hours digging deep into the soil. At times I wield a sharp spade. The rest of the time I shove my gloved hands deep into the dirt, wrestling the reluctant roots of weeds – bindweed specifically – to the surface. I grunt and mutter as I work, letting out the occasional rawr! of victory as a two foot length of root slips free. Hours and many unflattering positions later (my deepest apologies to my neighbours) I sit back on my haunches triumphantly. To the left, my husband is stretching black weed control cover and mulch around the newly placed perennials we purchased.
It’s team work, this. Pulling out the deep roots may help; adding weed control sheet and mulch will aid in the battle. I fought the mulch, but The Len persuaded me.
‘But I love the look of rich top soil,’ I whined.
‘And the weeds?’
‘Yeah, I hate those.’
Mulch wins. He humoured me, though, choosing one esthetically pleasing for picky me.
I make my way over to him and help him finish. As I smooth sweetly pungent cedar mulch around my new hostas, I promise them that the smelly stuff will help them, protect them.
It dawns on me then how much our efforts at gardening reflect the work of the Spirit.
Breaking up matted clumps of dirt.
Watering parched soil.
Planting new life.
The quiet rawr! of victory.
Attempting to stretch the metaphor as writers long to do, I tug at the rim of my ball cap and try to determine which aspect of gardening might represent grace. I come up empty on that one which means, as always, that all is grace.
The Len comes to stand beside me.
‘I really like those osteoporosises you chose,’ he says, circling my waist with his arm.
I lean in, taking in the fragrance of dirt, mulch and sunkissed flesh. ‘You mean the osteospermums?’
‘Yeah. Those too.’
Start to finish. All is grace.
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. ~ John 1:16