Back to the Garden

Flaking dried dill, oregano, thyme, clipping chamomile flower heads, sweetness of blossoms perfuming breeze, hum of bees and hummingbirds, strident birdsong, antiphons of  John the Baptist

Oh, my goodness, suddenly we’re deep in harvest.  Two crates of kale in the hallway.  Chinese cabbage for KimChee.  Brocolli frozen for winter.  Very early tomorrow morning I’ll cut and tie bunches of herbs that a sister will sell with vegetables, spices, and maple syrup at the Farmer’s Market.   Yesterday we ate the most delicious shelled peas ever brought forth from the earth.  (We love superlatives around here.  One sister says of every meal, “This is the most DELICIOUS … add whatever eating … I’ve ever had in my WHOLE LIFE!”)

Yesterday, when I was out at the hospital with a sister in severe back pain, Bill came from the convent home to St. Aiden’s to find a car, a woman and child in the driveway.  She’d pulled in because a lone coyote was stalking the chickens in broad daylight, so she pulled in and beeped her horn and scared it away.  A neighbor sees the coyote in his field (there’s lots of them around – we hear them often, but rarely see them) and a number of his cats have disappeared.   Bill sat outside for an hour in the early evening, and the chickens hid motionless in the forsythia bushes sensing danger. 

I missed the garden for two weeks.  I went to North Carolina to chaplain (I think “chaplain” should be a verb) a Christian Education Conference.  Two weeks of garden in mid-June is a lot to miss!  The sisters were already harvesting and drying herbs from the kitchen garden I tend, but weeding, moving, staking, deadheading … so much to do!  I’m still unpacking, having stuffed the car with fabric and musical instruments and church toys and booklets for all the services, plus materials for the workshops my son, Patrick, co-led.   Too much catching up.

Of the four days I’ve been home, one day I went to New York City for a church appointment and to have lunch with my daughter, Grace.  And yesterday I spent at the hospital with a sister – now at home but very drugged up.  Back pain.  Arrrrggggghhh.

But one thing I noticed about prayer.  Although I led prayer for the week of the conference, and certainly prayed on the trip to D.C., to Durham, to Hendersonville NC and back to D.C. and then N.Y. again, I did not pray as the habit of the year in the garden draws me to pray.  I havn’t got the prayer back.  It’s like in the days I seriously played the flute – if I missed my four hours a day I felt I seriously lost something.  I trust remedial sitting in silence and singing the offices will re-wire my neurons soon, I hope.  I remember in the fall, seeing the cabbages in my prayer, and that gentle voice whispering, “Come to the garden.” 

I’m back to the garden.  Give me that love thou desirest of me.   Amen.



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