“With or without your hard work

God is always moving

in your life.

Wait on the Holy,

wait and receive the gifts that come.”

Gunilla Norris from A Mystic Garden

Spring and I have become much better friends since moving to Corhaven nearly 6 years ago. The chilled air, rain, mud and worms and their natural complements of dripping rain jackets and umbrellas, muddy boots in the foyer and the ubiquitous smell of worms were realities I merely endured when living in the city.  These same things are now harbingers of good things to come in a context where we can more easily participate in and see what good things come from the earth. My favorite activity every spring is to walk the land at Corhaven and witness the first bursts of amazing green as early spring perennials wake from their winter slumber. I’m stirred most by the fern fronds that look like the auricle of a newborn’s ear that grow and reproduce every year in our Mary garden as well as the Lily of the Valley that do the same outside of our cottage door. These I have had no hand in nurturing. They are simply a gift anticipated and gratefully received every year.


My garden, on the other hand, is where the happy labor happens. Since mid-March I’ve been able to sport my overalls with the deep pockets and broken clasps that I keep up with rubber bands. This is my second skin for 9 months of the year! The early spring annuals that are frost hardy have all been carefully planted after turning the cover crop, testing and amending the soil. We’ve had a wonderful sequence of warm, sunny and rainy days that my cultivated plants are also just pushing above the soil’s surface. And like every year I watch, wait and worry when they seem to idle for reasons unknown to me. Every year I have to trust that they will grow when nature times it to be right. I think I get a little better every year at worrying less that I’ve done something wrong and… just trust.

Like most folks who are thoughtful about their faith walk and also happen to be cultivators, the free exchange of ideas between the spiritual and natural world are not lost on me. By being so engaged in the stuff of the natural world, however, my spiritual life and how God engages me and how I in turn respond has become a place of rich dialogue for us. I’m not surprised by this because after all, by His very nature, God is a gardener.  Not surprised, but always grateful.

Take the time, wherever you happen to be, and be aware and engaged with all of the life, both new and awakened happening around you and in you. Be aware especially of the gifts given through no work on our part but simply given.

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