Growing up in Northern Minnesota, where winters are long and brutal and summers quick and fleeting, I had few experiences with gardens. There was a flower garden here or there, but nothing extensive or pampered with care. Only flowers hardy enough to manage the iron ore soil and uncooperative weather survived. It was mining territory focused on what you put into the earth, not what you took out.
My Irish father thought he could grow potatoes and decided to give it a try. We spent the winter eating what my brother and I called “tasteless, Irish marbles.”
The gift of gardens has been made tangible for me through the “green-thumb” sisters in community, many of whom grew up on farms. Two sisters with whom I live are gardeners down to their bone marrow. They and others have taught me the delight of preparing for the garden, readying the soil, and then entering the rhythm of planting, watering, weeding, and waiting—often for sun or rain.
Gardeners and gardens have taught me much. Life, like gardening, is full of planning, preparing, planting, watering, weeding, and waiting. Perhaps that is why God created a garden east of Eden at the beginning of creation. We know Jesus spent time in a garden the night before he died. And in a garden, he was raised from the dead. Moreover, he was mistaken for a gardener by Mary Magdalene. In many ways, Jesus is a master gardener who nourishes and nurtures our life with his Body, Blood and Word.
May the coming of spring—the new life gardens bring—teach us again this year about the rhythm of life and the beauty and taste of delight that entering that rhythm provides.
Michaela Hedican, OSB
Photo: Beautiful garden plots tended to by gardeners in our Sunset Drive Community Garden