I’m not much of a gardener. Very few of the 100+ melons I planted last month came up the first time, due to my planting too early and overwatering. I had to replant the entire melon patch last weekend. For me gardening is a little bit like fishing: I may not be very good at it, but I enjoy it immensely.
Our melon patch is situated between the house on the north side, the goat pasture to the west, and the cow pasture on the south side. It’s about 35′ x 35′, or 1225 square feet, give or take. Gardening out here is feast for the senses. A city person would think it eerily, desperately quiet. But you can hear every pheasant calling, every hen clucking, and every rooster crowing for a quarter mile. You can hear the munching of the cows as if they were right there in the garden with you. (Have you ever really listened to a cow eating grass? Eating and breathing, I should say. There’s a rhythm to it that is unlike anything else.) You can hear the water bubbling up from the irrigation risers far in the distance. The gentlest breeze grabs your attention; the furthest, tiniest cloud is a heavenly wonder; even the weeds in the garden become objects of fascination (and maybe you resolve to let one live now and then).
A goat leaves the herd and walks over to the fence. She stands there alone, bleating at me endlessly, clearly trying to get my attention. I wonder if she’s about to have her babies. Sure enough, an hour later my children gleefully inform me that she has given birth to two healthy kids. I continue to work the ground, staining my hands, taking it all in. Strangely, it does not give me peace. Instead it gives me a longing for peace. There is still something lacking … what? There are still unpurged sounds in my head and unrelinquished corners in my soul. It is the old, haunting truth that I have been avoiding for years now. The Next Step: I haven’t taken it. The spiritual rut I’m in is a comfortable rut. Comfortable – but oppressive when alone with myself. I know what the Lord is asking of me. I know what I need to change. Must I wait until some horrible tragedy shakes me out of my lethargy?
No, a country garden doesn’t bestow real peace, no matter how fertile and serene. But a country garden, with its silent angels, might just lead me there.