Sunday, April 04, 2004

Today I am sunburned. Every year I tell myself I'll be smarter and not stay out so long early in the spring when my skin is pale and vulnerable from a winter of staying indoors. But the garden pulls me and I can't say no. Things are growing! In the season of dividing the living from the dead, I am the Gardener who clears away the crust of winter’s grip. I’m in the garden by 8:00 AM on Saturday, intending to work for a few hours. But suddenly I blink and the sun is low in the western sky. I scurry to finish planting pansies, haul one more load of compost. People think me crazy, but truly, I am entranced by my garden. Meaning the hours flow by without my noticing—I must be in some sort of altered state of consciousness. Who in their right mind is revived by 10 hours or more of hard labor? Only a gardener. When I come in, my feet ache, my mouth is dry and my hands are slowly desiccating. I know the month of the year by the amount of dirt permanently embedded at the sides of my nail and the cracks in my fingers. I am a gardener. Today is the Sabbath and I am usually at church. A day of rest. I believe in that firmly, but today was General Conference for my church and regular meetings aren’t held. I thought I’d only plant a flat of pansies I didn’t get to last night, so I plugged in the radio to listen to Conference and before I knew it, it was 4:00 P.M.. I planted the pansies, dug up and transplanted hollyhocks and divided and potted up perennials to exchange at a plant swap this week. Some in my faith might say I broke the Sabbath. But God and I walked together in my garden today. Maybe He’ll forgive me.