Good-bye Nick: The Garden Won’t Be The Same

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Even though technology and the internet and the 24-hour-news cycle has made our world faster and more sophisticated, it is still something to note that so many of us still seem compelled to dig up a patch in our yard and set down some seeds. There is a satisfaction and contentment in getting our hands dirty in the soil, planting new things. It is something instinctive that technology can’t destroy.

Once bitten by the gardening bug, we are energized by our task, trying to make sure we have given our little garden enough of what it needs, provided enough fertilizer, wishing the clouds away. Did we water enough? Too much? Standing at the window with our cup of tea, watching for squirrels or rabbits. Rainstorm coming: rush, rush, rush outside to cover it with hay, or burlap, or whatever we can to protect it from who knows what. Not my plant. Not today.

This special something that we grow seems nearly exactly like every other of its kind, and yet is absolutely nothing like anything but itself. Our love, our care, our nurturing. Sometimes frustrating and exhausting. But mostly wonderful and amazing, this garden we tend so lovingly. We create this miracle, this something so indescribable from nearly nothing. And ultimately, it has its own cycle. All of our love, our effort, our ministrations – connecting us with other forces on and in the earth – can’t stop its own cycle. And when the cycle ends, we try to find the strength in the void to understand that by pouring our entire being into our garden, we made the earth a better place. We created a fresh, clean, new place for plants to flourish, and that those efforts in our own garden reach beyond our yard and have impact beyond. The fertilizer and weeding and careful tending, the roots we establish and nurture spread out and improve our neighbor’s garden as well. We’ve become part of the majesty and beauty of nature. We’ve improved the earth. The earth to which we will someday return when our own cycle ends.

Two old friends are mourning their just-turned-18-year-old son this week. I know it will take some time, but I surely hope they can find some comfort in knowing that the love and care and sweat and tears they poured into their own garden improved the earth. Many people for many years will think back and smile at this “Nick story” or that one, and remember him and them fondly and with love.

Jul 3rd, 2012

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