Roots

Long have we waited.

The frozen fingers of a cold spring have finally released, and early summer heat has breathed new life into the neighbourhood.

We’ve witnessed the return of nearly all the winged migrants in the past few weeks, flying back and forth over our backyard as they build their nests and prepare for another season of fledglings. The unseasonable temperatures have coaxed the leaves from the trees and the early-blooming flowers up out of the ground to bob their heads in the warm wind.

My irises stand tall in full bloom, two weeks early. The strawberries are coming up, the Saskatoons and apples are full of blossoms and the hollyhocks I sowed last year are returning with great enthusiasm.

My life feels tied to the rhythm of the seasons. Maybe it’s because I spent the first part of my life in an agricultural community centred around seeding and harvest. You can take the girl out of the country… 

I don’t mind. In fact, I welcome the week in May where we prepare the ground and plant the garden. As I was turning soil and pulling weeds in the front bed last night, a sense of calm came over me. The job felt insurmountable, but with my two helpers, we made quick work of the quack grass and mixed the soil for some new perennials. I’ve often joked that after fifteen years of trial and error, I should just read a book about gardening and learn how to do it right, but trial and error seems to be my gardening style and I’m making peace with it.

My arms bear the marks of weeding under the rose bushes that I planted one year just to see if they’d take. They’re my favourite addition to our yard. They bloom from June to the first snowfall without fail, and their ruby red rose hips bring a cheerful pop of colour in the late days of fall. Our Saskatoons have barely ever given us enough berries to make a pie, but we enjoy daily handfuls in late July. The apple tree is a saga in itself, and after eight years we’re seeing enough fruit to have a taste. It’s more of a hobby garden than anything else, but it’s lovely. I battle critters all season long, so I guess we can consider it a pretty good year if we get anything out of it at all!

So many times I’ve wondered if I’m wasting my time and energy trying to grow things in less-than-ideal conditions on a shoestring budget, but I’m amazed at the beauty I’ve witnessed in this humble hobby garden. I’m even more amazed at the things the Lord is teaching me through this simple summer pastime, and at how good it is for my soul. Every year is different, and every year I’m changed by it.

I wonder if there are other areas of life that I am pouring into, areas that feel like they are a waste of time, areas of costly investment that one day will reveal fruit I cannot even imagine!

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Every gardening year I’m reminded that sending my roots down deeper into Christ is the only way to truly thrive.

“No family will always be there. No talent will always be there. Your looks will certainly not always be there. Whatever it is you put your anchor down into, if it’s a circumstance, it’s like putting it into the water. Everything but the promise of God is water.” – Tim Keller

My roses. (Image: mine)

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