Monday, March 31, 2014

Lessons from the Garden: Better Late than Never

I was a laissez-faire gardener late last fall, investing my time on the fruits of the season's labor instead of preparing for one to come.

I thought I'd have a few more weekends to get the old plants dug out and cover the soil with leaves freshly fallen from trees and blanket the whole thing with a tarp before snow dusted the land.

Turns out I didn't.

I shrugged it off, thinking that at some point in the winter season there would be a break enough in cold and snow to prep the soil long after all the canning and freezing and drying had been finished.

Turns out there wasn't.

This morning the winds blew warmth across the hopeful midwestern landscape, and I went out to assess the situation I call the garden.

Of course, it was a mess. I spent an hour untangling old dead vines from stakes that should have come out of the ground last December as the garden was winding down for the winter.

And then I spent another good hour spreading leaves over the garden that I neglected to spread early this winter, an important process that delivers much needed trace minerals back to the soil and also feeds earthworms and beneficial microbes, all of which are necessary for producing fantastic produce.

"Better late than never, right?" I'd thought.

Better some than none, yes?

As I swept leaves over the soil, I began thinking -- that's been my unintentional motto for the past several years -- ever since busy sneakily got a choke hold on the throat of our life.

I do lots of things. But I don't do anything well anymore.

Sure that's a way to live, but really, that's no way to really live.

Each season that's passed, we've made hard decisions to let go of really good, really worthwhile activities and commitments.

Some of it has felt like we're chipping away pieces of our very selves.

Each season I grimace as we make another one of those decisions ... and each season after the decision has been made I've breathed a little more fully air into the depths of my lungs. Each season I've emerged a little stronger, ready to tackle more of what I left to weather on it's own beyond what I'd prefer.

Each season, I step out into the first beautiful day and assess, this time intentionally investing more in what is most important.

I look out at the tended Earth, and I breathe a sigh of relief, a sigh of contentedness and satisfaction.

Will the garden be fine and produce fruit and harvest this summer? I'm sure it will.

And when it comes to gardening, right now, I think it's ok.

But when it comes to the most important pieces of my life?

Turns out better late than never and better some than none doesn't apply.

I want the best fruit possible.

My marriage, our kiddos, my passions, my love for God -- I don't want to skimp on the soil of where those roots are burrowing.

Those fruits are just too precious to let go for anything else.

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