Spring is progressing along nicely here in Indiana. We had that false spring in February that concerned me a bit, but I think we’re finally into the real thing now. On Tuesday, it was so beautiful out, I couldn’t resist getting my hands dirty for an hour or so. I decided it was time for some of my flower beds to wake up a bit.
In the fall, I covered all the flower beds with chopped up leaves. It felt like I was putting them all to bed for a nice long sleep – essentially that is what I was doing. We had more than enough fallen leaves to cover all the beds, and each one got a couple inches of leaves.
As I was removing the leaves, I was thinking, “Wake up, everyone! Spring is here!” It wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary for me to actually say that – I talk to everything, animals, flowers, trees. This time, however, I was just thinking it. Under the leaves I saw so much life – worms, insects, hidden sprouts. I also saw decaying leaves that were providing good soil for the bulbs to grow and thrive. The leaves on the top layer were dry and protective, but the further down I got, the more the leaves were actively involved in the growth process.
Not all the leaves are gone. Think about it – who likes to have to the cover ripped off first thing in the morning? No one! I’ll remove the rest of the leaves soon, but maybe the plants like a slow morning too?
In some beds, dead stuff had to be cut away. The tall, hollow stems from the hosta. The dried flowers from the sedum. The dead, long leaves from the iris. They all served their purpose and were ready to be removed.
It felt good to be back in the flower beds. I could tell it had been awhile because even though I exercise regularly, there’s something different about bending over flower beds that causes the back to ache in that certain way. Overtime that ache will subside and the strength will return.
I’ve always enjoyed gardening and working in the yard (ok, always as in since I’ve been a homeowner, I’m not sure I enjoyed it so much as a kid). I enjoy each season – the dormant times of rest, the cleaning times of spring, the robust life of summer, and the preparing times of fall. Each season has something to offer me – something to teach me about the way creation cycles through life and death.
There’s something different for me this spring, though. I’m not the same person I was when I prepared the beds last fall. I’m searching for new meaning this season. I’m searching for new life this spring.
The new life I desire won’t be found in a flower bed. Unfortunately, it won’t be found in my body either. So, where does that leave me? I’m left with what’s present in front of me now. I’m left with what I have, which, when I look closely, is abundance. Even in my grief, even in my emptiness, abundance surrounds me. The daffodils and crocus are blooming daily – they have been for weeks. The tulips are on the verge – blooms are just waiting for the right moment to open up. Birds are singing their songs all day long – sometimes I join in their song! The lilac bushes which still look like sticks have green buds on their tips. The grass is growing. The sun shines longer and the rain feels a bit warmer.
Will my gardens satisfy the craving for new life I desire? No. Will Denali be enough or will a new puppy fill that hole? No. Will my nieces and nephews heal my grief? Well, now we’re getting a little closer – yes, perhaps some.
Nothing can fix this. However, looking for the abundance will help. Looking for the fullness of life will matter. I have planted more seeds in my life than I can name – seeds I’ve held in my hands and seeds I’ve held in my heart. There are flower beds in two other yards that continue to show the fruit of my labor. There are hundreds of young adults around this country whose lives show signs of my fingerprints. Abundance. My life is full. My life may never be “complete” – whose is? But, it will always be full. It will always show signs of life – I’m determined about that. My life will always bring forth new life in ways I’m not even aware of yet.
It’s time, little ones, it’s time to wake up. The sun is shining, the rain is falling – new life is upon us.