On my desk, in a tray covered with a clear plastic top, are 72 small peat pellets that have become, in effect, my garden. Scabiosa, Salvia, Echinops, and Hesperis are all either laying just bellow the surface or on the surface. The smell is enchanting, deep and rich.
St. Thomas Aquinas, at the end of “Prayer Before Study” writes:
Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas. Tu, qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Order the beginning, direct the progress, and perfect the achievement of my work. You who are true God and true man, and who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
I’m trying to memorize the latin, trying to pray the prayer when I rise in the morning, and before I begin anything significant. So before I planted the seeds, I prayed the prayer.
Not everything that we do is blessed, or appears to be blessed, by the hand of God. Sometimes we are too far from the actual goal to see the transition between events. I did not think starting work at the job I am at almost 16 years ago that it would eventually lead me to this place, a place where very shortly the snow will melt and my garden will increase in size. And yet, the little things like planting the seeds will eventually produce one of two results: a seedling will appear, or it will not. A plant will grow and thrive, or it will not. We are given the opportunity to use all the skills and talents we have acquired to try and make this an easier transition for the potential in the seed. But sometimes, the soil is too wet or too dry, the seed is buried when it must lay on the top of the soil, a seed is not frozen by winter when the cold is needed to urge the growing.
Every garden is potential; even in that potential there is the possibility of failure, or success. Every year is another effort towards knowing, gaining knowledge, becoming and growing alongside the seedlings. Plants become old friends. I have a ficus I purchased when I first moved into the place I’m in now. This tree has been through everything with me, and other ficus that have grown along side it have died, withered, not nearly become as strong a tree as this one. The ones that have died are added to my in-head file of “what not to do” or “what is difficult to grow” or “how not to water” or “how to water and feed”.
People are like gardens. Often we are thrown, or we throw ourselves, into relationships with people and like the seedlings, they either grow and flourish, or they wither. In some ways, we are only responsible for the actions of our own hands, our own hearts. We can only turn so much soil, compost, water, prune, and then we are at the mercy of nature. Nature is the ultimate gardener, and although we do enjoy a hand in participating, she is the ultimate pruner, weeder, harvester, and planter.
So a flower bloomed in my life recently. It faded very quickly, the petals fell to the ground, and I was left confused, sad, but gladdened as well that I had the opportunity to experience the blossoming. I know very little about how to be in a relationship. I can only hope, and pray, that I know far more about growing plants, turning soil, and mowing grass.
In as much as I can, all I have is the ability to choose the seed, plant the seed, do the best to nurture rather than suffocate the seedlings, pot them on, and once mature find a place of rest for the plant. The snow cannot disappear soon enough.