Gardens give us some of the best settings to reflect | Faithful living

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. — George Bernard Shaw

Like so many Whidbey Islanders, I’ve consulted the Weather Channel app on my smartphone numerous times this week and gazed longingly outside. My desire is so simple: I want to work in our garden. I want to see those darling bunnies, hopping about our raised beds and nipping off the tops of our green bean starts, stopped in their tracks by the bunny fence my husband and I are building.

Most of the week, the rain has stopped us dead in our tracks. OK, it didn’t stop us from purchasing shell fishing licenses and digging a bucket full of clams the other day when there was an impressive minus tide. It was rainy and windy that day too, but the moderate temperature and the beauty of the beaches called us all the way from Penn Cove. The song tripped north along highway 20, crossed over gentleman farms and quaking trees, and over to the two of us--peering out at our unfinished bunny fence. Grabbing a pail, spade, rubber boots, and slickers, we hopped in the truck and made our way to the water’s edge. We dug through dark anerobic mud, past mudders and worms and abandoned snail shells, to harvest clams fit for baiting crab pots this July and gracing chowders whenever the desire hits.

On our way off the beach springtime flowers sidetracked our trek back to the bunny fence once again. The endangered golden paint brush glowed despite the gray sky overhead. The red tinged new growth of the Oregon Grape bushes reminded me that fruit fit for jam will ripen this summer. Nootka rose bushes, with light pink blooms opened wide like welcoming arms, stopped me long enough to take in their slight fragrance. Not wanting to forget this springtime jaunt, I took photos that also included wild rhododendrons, ferns, and tiny sweet pea blossoms.

This is island living at its best, is it not? A garden surrounds us. This week these gifts, from an imaginative Creator, have enriched our daily experiences and provided us with true enjoyment. They have also taken us away from the task at hand: to build a short fence with the sole purpose of safeguarding the fruits of our labor.

Our bed of herbs remain untouched by the bunny brigade. But much of what we naively hoped to sneak in has been munched to ground level and the 23 fence slats nailed in place are useless until the entire enclosure is complete.

The lesson is not lost on me. I’m a grower and gatherer. The more the merrier, my heart always says. Then I look just beyond my plantings and I’m forced to admit there are predators out there, some soft and innocent looking. There are times I must choose a barrier to safeguard and protect what I am growing. Some of life should be invited in. Some must be forced out.

Come rain or shine, the fencing project concludes this weekend so the planting can begin.


Joan Bay Klope can be reached at

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