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Getting My Hands Dirty: Greeting God in the Garden

July 25, 2012

It is late in the day. The sun at angle pierces the trees and cuts across the patio in dark orange beams. Dinner is over, kitchen is clean, boys in the bathtub and I, barefoot, pad around the fountain with bucket and snips.

He joins me there, in pajamas and towel-tousled head, smelling of clean, chirping about this and that; barefoot, like me.

What’s this? What’s that?

He points to the flowers and I smile. He’ll be a gardener yet…and I teach him the Latin words that will someday, impress just the right girl.

Lobelia. Celosia, Dahlia. Alyssum.

Lamium. Hydrangea. Geranium. Agapanthus. Chrysanthemum.


He tries to remember and understand how this purple has the same name as that white.

A gentle rush of air stirs the roses and I stop. Breathe. The sound of water splashing as we kneel in the dirt, pulling un-wanteds between the Begonias.

There is no greater peace than in the garden. A deep, penetrating joy from dark earth and growing things.

What is the allure of working the soil?

Is it aching joints, the burning sun, dirt-under-my-fingernails grimey?

No. The process is not the joy.

But yet, the process itself has reward. It is a job finished. Accomplishment. A goal met.

It is relationship – coaxing, nurturing, urging (at times, even praying). A response, at first slight…then bountiful.

From fallow to fruitful.

It is memory. Time and place implanted; trees wrapped in laughter. Snapshots taken, boyish heads taller as each year passes. It is rosy cheeks and new love – under the apple tree they spread their blanket. Tete a tete, they whispered,

It is the ever-present and welcome shadow of Karen, bending low, arms tan and limber. Loving the blooms, murmuring admiration en francais.

It is a labor – patience, effort, suffering, sweat and toil – yielding delight of daily new-ness. Rebirth. Spring.

It is standing hand-in-hand with God, as leaf unfolds; wondrous miracles of green.

It is a glimpse of Creation at my fingertips. Beneath my feet, Above my head.

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