In anticipation of getting dirty

One of the most delightful things about a garden

is the anticipation it provides.

~ W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

I hopped out of bed early Thursday morning and hurried downstairs to brew freshly ground French roast coffee and sit at the kitchen table, currently brimming with gardening books.

Among the pile is a brand new binder I’m filling with carefully labeled dividers and magazine articles slipped into plastic folders. One article explains how to divide overgrown African violets, my all-time favorite house plant. A half dozen baby plants now fill a nearby window sill and I carefully check soil saturation and leaf growth each day. I envision their delicate flowers in the weeks to come and thrill at the enjoyment of such little matters.

Another article in my binder explains how to grow and dry herbs. I’ve made a list of my favorites and dusted off the new dehydrator I purchased last year from Island Thrift for a bargain price. Someone else’s disinterest in drying food is now my good fortune. As the weather allows, I’ll add to the raised bed I’ve designated for herbs and incorporate them into my cooking.

I’ve also located a helpful planting calendar for Western Washington off the Internet that has been printed and placed at the beginning of my binder. Did you know it’s about time to sow beets, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, turnips and radishes outdoors? That’s right. Put on some gardening gloves and commence the digging!

It’s also time to prune and feed your roses and nearby fruit trees not already pruned. I watched my husband and our friend Ron prune around the yard recently and it was an enjoyable event for me to observe. They worked in tandem on each tree and talked the entire time. Turns out they traded ideas about abating the forest that is pushing the boundaries of our yard and solved a few of the world’s problems at the same time.

My family members grin at me and shake their heads ever so slightly with amusement when I begin my spring planning. I smile back, for the days are getting longer, giving me permission to act on some of this information I’ve enjoyed gathering. I adore the brighter mornings and warmer afternoon temperatures. I feel optimism and promise building deep inside.

Take a moment and take note of the buds and birds and lawns needing a trim. Spring officially arrives March 20. I feel the upsurge of anticipation and an unstoppable urgency to get moving. In response, I turned over my raised beds on Tuesday and contemplated what amendments I’ll add. I’ve located plans for a simple coldframe that will help me produce strong and sustainable vegetable starts and decided on a location closer to my kitchen to begin a simple compost pile.

My energy is building along with the light of day.

It’s time to garden and connect with God outside. To witness tender, green shoots emerge from the ground and trees budding after weeks of barrenness. For many, a Lenten tradition includes depriving oneself of things that bring pleasure, focusing instead on the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf by suffering on a cross. I take a few moments each day to contemplate this enormous sacrifice.

But I’m helpless to the building anticipation of His resurrection that we will remember and celebrate Easter Sunday. I find that participating in the crescendo of Spring nourishes my own emotional reserves. It fills me with joy and hope upon which I will need to draw, in ways and at times I cannot predict this year. I’m reminded, because I sometime forget, that God orders this world. God owns the power. God authors the beauty. He’s there no matter the storms. He provides for His creatures outside and cares for us even more.

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