Owning a piece of the same homestead that my ancestors settled makes me a steward of this earth. Like my parents and grandparents, there are days when I am sweaty and exhausted from good honest work in the soil; there are days when I sit in my cushioned chair on the deck admiring the clouds. I am fortunate to have ”one foot in the city” and “one foot on the farm.”
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Be As A Child
The seed catalogs are coming in the mail
this month and they continue to tempt me as much as they did my farm-bound
mother years ago. My mother was like a
child awaiting Christmas when spring beckoned.
Her early poverty suppressed her need for luxuries. When her love of flowers was unleashed in
later years, it coincided with the development of supermarket garden
centers. She was a child granted her
There was an area of the yard where she liked
to sit, so her garden design was determined by line-of-sight. If she found a plant with a striking flower,
she bought it and placed it, not where it should grow, but where she could see
it. She often proved garden instinct
wrong; shade plants thrived for her in full sun; sun plants did well in
shade. They survived because she loved
and tended them devotedly. She was a
rare soul who truly looked at her garden.
She drew up a lawn chair and sat right in front of the flowers and took
One spring, in the interest of expanding her
small shrubs and roses, Mom placed a large catalog mail order. Planting day was brisk, bordering on
unpleasant and she had already dug dozens of holes, was soaking some bare root
shrubs, and had planted several before my son and I arrived to help. She had worked hours already on her project.
My son was the muscle and horticultural expert. As we divided the labor, my son gave a
questionable sniff to the buckets where shrubs were being soaked before
“Grandma,” he sniffed cautiously, “what are
you soaking these shrubs in?”
“Water with root stimulator,” she responded. Already he had the bottle at eye level and
read “weed killer” aloud. Her failing
vision had missed the distinction of labels.
We were a sad family that day as we pulled every
planted shrub, washed each in fresh water and dug new holes. She was deeply disappointed in her mistake,
but we pretended that we had caught it in time.
The results were dismal as we waited for life
to show in those shrubs, but her optimism was contagious and we soon shared her
hope and celebrated those that did survive.
How can you not love someone who so genuinely
loves a flower? Is this not one of the
first things a small child finds to admire as he softly holds a bloom up to be
sniffed by a parent? It is one of the
first moments of wonder of our lives.
Mom’s wonder simply lasted a lifetime.
A small plaque in her garden expressed how
she felt –
“One is closer to God in a garden than any
place else on earth.”