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green stuff and brown stuff



I worked outside for a few hours yesterday on my flowerbeds, getting them ready for the growing season. I don't really like gardening and was sucked into the vortex of jardinage by one of my friends who managed to appeal to my desire to have a colourful and beautiful yard that would increase the resale value of our home. I like being outside and I don't mind manual labour, but for some reason, I just don't get the appeal of plants.

I knew I could not procrastinate this work any longer as things were already beginning to sprout and weeds and mulch had to be removed, soil turned, plants trimmed, and several bulbs replanted. Yesterday being a gorgeous day, I donned my favourite shorts that I can't bear to throw away even though they have a rip in them and started to dig in the dirt. Every 10 minutes or so I found myself coming inside to get a drink, go to the bathroom, get another tool, ask Dean a question, eat some yummy dark Belgian chocolate, or blow my nose. It was kind of obvious that I would rather be doing something else. My least favourite part of the day was digging up 2 plants that were invasive on a scale that was Borg-ish (Star Trek reference there). They were spreading and intertwining themselves with plants several feet away and also getting into the lawn and no no no, we will have none of that in my garden, so I ripped them out.

At one point, I forgot my prejudice against gardening for a moment and actually got a little excited by seeing some green shoots in the midst of a bunch of brown and limp leaves. I gently ripped away the dead leaves and stems and cleared the dirt of debris, then pushed some freshly turned soil up against the shoot, covering its roots, but leaving its green bits perky and bright against the black earth. And then something clicked in my mind. This gardening stuff really isn't that complicated. You simply remove the things that are not alive and encourage the things that are living and growing. Make it easier for them to grow. At that point, I lost some of my timidity as a gardener who felt they didn't quite know what they were doing and became more confident and committed to my task, completing all the cleaning up of the flowerbeds, replanting and watering in good time to make a supper engagement downtown with friends.

God made us and other living things to grow. I can't make this happen, I can only observe it and help or hinder it. The most important thing I can do is work with this God-given natural tendency to increase and flourish and get bigger and more mature and bear fruit, and simply trim off or get rid of those things that are dead weight, last year's fruit, anything that does not have green in it anymore, or anything that is hindering the sprouts.

This is a picture of one of the sprouts in my garden, taken this morning.

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