It’s true, and it’s been going on for a long time: the longing to plant the earth, to dig and scrape, to enrich the soil and make it bring forth its beautiful beings, its peculiar creations, some for tasting, some just for looking and smelling.
Many layers of learning have been added since my first encounter as a teenager with a garden in upstate New York. It was sensory overload, and I succumbed, but had no chance to practice in my own earthly space until I landed in Big Sur many years later.
I had received an invitation from God to join Him in the ongoing work of creation. At first, I didn’t recognize the sacredness of that call, that summons to his side until I discovered the excitement of seeds!! They were miniature forms of life, unrecognizable to our eyes, until we placed them in the womb of mother earth. We had to hide them, bury them, and trust them to nature’s power. They were wrapped in a cocoon of warm earth, water and sunlight that contained all the ingredients for reproducing life. But first they endured death. What emerged from that burial was a new creation that bore no resemblance to the seed placed in the ground. God gives it a new body, a new kind of flesh. And so it will be with us.
“…he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we shall see him as he really is.” (I John 3:2)
I think of Mary weeping at Jesus’ tomb, looking for her lord. Jesus was buried in a garden, and then she sees someone she thinks is the gardener. The Son of God, a gardener, the last Adam, the second man, the heavenly man?? Yes, and so much more. ” …the first man, Adam, became a living person. But the last Adam-that is, Christ- is a life-giving spirit.” (I Cor. 15:45) Jesus was the “first fruits” of a new creation.
But gardening with God is more than a sweet love affair. It is also war. The tender seedlings need protection from many hostile hungry creatures. As soon as they are born they are exposed to attacks. It wasn’t always this way. The battle for survival began as a result of Adam’s sin, that deviation from perfection, that marring of the divine image within us. And so it is with us.
This Spring I broke out in full scale “plantmania and gardenitus”. I had a vision of wild abundance, things growing everywhere! I even forgot what I had planted, and discovered that what I thought was a cabbage was really a cauliflower. I just needed to look more closely. And so I do now, as I tend, hover, water, feed and guard these little creations. When I handed John our first ripe zucchinis, he succinctly said, “You’re a mother!”