“If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies; like the human body, with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate.”
– Fernand Lequenne
I believe that one of the most beautiful ways to serve God is through the cultivation and care of the land that has been provided for us. Learning to work with the soil in a reciprocal relationship of nurture and provision creates in us not only an appreciation for the natural world around us but also instills in us a gratitude for the Creator. By living in harmony with the land, we remember that we were created out of the dust of the earth. I love this quote by Fernand Lequenne because it not only exemplifies the concept that we are a part of the earth but also reminds us of our own mortality as well as the earth’s impermanence – our world will not be here forever and neither will we. With this knowledge in mind, it is my hope that humanity will recognize its inherent transience and live in that truth – that we are here for a time to do what we can and hopefully leave behind something of goodness and worth when we die. Our land is a testament to our lives – if we respect and nurture it, then it survives to create more goodness and life. As our bodies are taken back into the earth from which they were made, they allow for richness and new life to come about so long as this earth remains intact.
The above quote also resonates in the gardening experience we have had at the Blackburn House. We spent so much time this summer along with friends (and Mr. Mike – thanks for tilling us a garden space!) to make our garden abundant and prosperous. Along with the obvious seeding and planting, we took trips out to Todd to water and weed, removed most of the insane amount of rocks, hoed and raked the soil to make it workable, and spread horse compost from Lynn to make our soil rich with nutrients. Even after all our hard work, some things still went awry. Our cantaloupes didn’t produce, some of our corn just didn’t come up from seed, our beans got eaten (by, I believe, a certain Peter Rabbit), we had a total of about 10 cucumbers before the plants died, our cilantro bolted, the onions froze, and our poor little tomatoes got blight and had to be pulled up. This garden has been a huge learning experience and a testament to the fact that gardens are living beings that thrive and prosper as well as get sick and die. This experience has created in me an incredible amount of thankfulness for the land that God has provided us with to sustain ourselves as we sustain it as well as an appreciation of what it truly takes to grow your own food.