I’m generally a pretty optimistic person. February tends to test that outlook. The shortest month of the year feels like the longest one. This week seems like the longest one in February. I attended a memorial for my friend Jim yesterday and will attend another one on Friday for Bobby. I’ll be glad when Sunday comes.
Even more than that, I’ll be glad when March 1st gets here. You see, from there it’s just a brief sprint to Spring. This year I’m ready. I look forward to the rebirth of my little world. Even though it was near freezing this morning, I spent a brief time on the porch just to say I really was there (after all, this is “Thoughts From The Porch”) and to see how much standing water was out front. I’m thankful for the rain (from mild drought to a surplus of rainfall) but I’ve found some drainage issues I need to address.
What really struck me though, was all the green grass that appeared after the last couple of days. It may only be “winter grass”, but it’s always the precursor to Spring and it reminds me that warmer days and planting the garden is right around the corner. There’s something about planting seeds that gives me hope, and gets me through February…
I have an organic garden. As such, it’s not merely avoiding chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and not just the planting and watering that focuses my attention, but the preparation of the soil. Jesus once told a story of a sower and the various types of soil on which he threw the seed and what the results were. Suffice it to say that good soil produces good harvest. I’ve spent a lot of time preparing the soil: I’ve added horse manure, compost, and a lot of love and attention.
The other thing I’ve learned is the importance of what surrounds my garden. Are there marigolds to keep the tomato worms at bay? Are there plenty of flowers and bushes around to attract butterflies and bees to pollinate the growing vegetables? Do I provide a place for beneficial nematodes, ladybugs, and the wasps that hunt plant parasites? I put a fence up to keep my dogs and other critters out so the soil doesn’t become tramples and hard (remember what happened to the seeds that fell on the hard soil in the Rabbi’s story?).
All this gives my garden every opportunity to flourish and give a great harvest. People are a lot like that too. Listening to all the memories shared at Jim’s memorial yesterday made me acutely aware of that. He was one of those people who was always sowing seeds and tending hearts. As I looked out over the crowd there, I also thought of how he helped me surround myself with the protection and fellowship of friends who’ve allowed my life to flourish.
When I think about those precious gifts, February’s not so long after all…