My husband has been working tirelessly to get a community garden off the ground in our city. He is a recent convert to gardening, but has been a huge proponent of initiatives to develop community as long as I can remember. His passion and vision are contagious, and he has been rewarded for his efforts with grants and a lot of community support.
A few weeks ago, when it felt like winter would never end, he was talking about his anticipation to get out and work in the garden. His comments were met with hesitation and overall lack of enthusiasm on my part. I was all for the garden IN THEORY, but have never been the outdoorsy type and have killed basically every living thing I have ever planted in the ground. Then my husband said something that made me laugh.
“There’s something inherent in all of us that wants to get our hands in the soil and work the land. God put it there.”
I know, I know. I shouldn’t have laughed, but I did. I wasn’t buying it, not for a moment. Yet, in an effort to show my support for my husband and the IDEA of a community garden, I volunteered to go out and help on a beautiful spring day.
It seems like I have been saying this a lot on my blog lately…. but…. my husband was right.
I loved being out there. I spent about four hours digging trenches, preparing to lay cement blocks for raised beds. The whole family was there, along with some lovely people who are helping in the endeavor. Isabel ran around, picking up rocks and running through the open fields. Ava worked and worked HARD. As we dug the trenches, she pulled up the heavy sod. For hours. That child has some drive in her. (Where did she get THAT?) Jimmie and his dad laid out the garden plots. We found worms, got some sun, and made some serious headway.
Jimmie and his dad, laying out the lines for the beds.
Ava, carrying a heavy clump of sod. This girl loves to be outside and works hard.
Isabel and Ava, working with David. Those girls love their Pa-Pa.
I enjoyed it so much that I tagged along again last weekend. This time, we evened out the trenches to lay the cement blocks. I measured, added soil where needed, dug out more where needed, tamped, carried 35 pound cement blocks and got a substantial sunburn. I still don’t regret it, even after days of sore muscles and sunburn.
I loved meeting Audrey. She is a master gardener and did a fantastic job getting the blocks level!
Our friends Matt and Thomas, working on gluing the blocks with Jimmie. It was funny seeing them in this context.
There’s just something about being outside. I have neglected God’s creation for too long, preferring instead the luxuries of climate controlled houses and ever-present technological “connectedness.” I trade a nice, long walk through trails for TV time. Instead of eating meals outdoors in wide, open spaces, we huddle around our kitchen table. In place of spending time on our front porch in the evenings, meeting neighbors, we hole up in our individual rooms, doing our own thing. Instead of appreciating the beauty of God’s creation, I surround myself with the not-so-impressive creation of man.
I’ve had enough. Something is awakening inside me. Even as I read scripture, I am noticing just how much of ALL THE AMAZING THINGS happened outside. I see Jesus calling his disciples while they are fishing. I see a pretty special sermon happening on a hill. I read some of the most powerful moments of prayer in the life of Jesus taking place in a desert or in a garden. I see miracles happening while on the sea.
So while I may never be a master gardener or have the green thumb of my mother, I am making an effort this season to not only get outside with my girls more, but to spent a substantial amount of time at the community garden… tilling soil, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting….. making connections with people in my community….. and getting in touch with my Creator and his creation.
How do you make the most of the outdoors? What are your favorite outdoor activities? Do you garden? Do you feel more connected to God when you are outside? Tell me your stories!
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