Close to the Soil…

You cleared the ground and tilled the soil, and we took root and filled the land.                 Psalm 80:9

I dug up this old piece which I had written for a newspaper column titled Point of View many years ago. This is timeless, I think, in that farming and gardening are ever old and ever new. Thought I’d share it for a summer read,


            I have been doing my personal therapy this weekend. I have been spending time doing something that clears my head and renews my soul – I have been working in my garden.  I was digging up the vegetable garden, planting flowers, working on our new pond (another whole column I think), and spreading mulch. While my body aches, it is a good kind of pain, because you see, working in the soil is a healthy thing.

            People who plant gardens, be they flower or vegetable gardens, tend to be people who have a healthier, more realistic view of life.  Why do I say this?  Let’s look at what is involved in planting flowers.  First, there has to be an intention to do so, which involves planning and forethought.  Flower gardeners appreciate the beauty of color, and they usually have a desire to improve the looks of their home as well as their neighborhood.  That means that they care about what is going on around them and they want to be a part of making their environment just a little nicer.  Then there is the satisfaction they get by having their early Spring vision rewarded with emerging little plants.  Where there had been nothing but soil now bursts with very visible life. 

            Another noble aspect of gardeners is their desire to nurture life.  When you plant flowers or vegetables, you need to be prepared to nurture and protect the young plants from bugs and those ever-present rabbits.  This takes vigilance and care, and a real desire to see a tender and nearly helpless plant survive.  Gardeners will pay a price in both time and money to see their plants through the dangers of predators, disease and weather hazards.

            Vegetable gardeners have the added incentive and motivation of eating the fruits of their labor. Those vegetables taste better than anything in the world when they come from your own garden, partly because the gardener knows how hard he or she worked to get to that point.  Vegetable gardeners know too that they are not really saving money by growing their own vegetables, they are satisfying a rather deep-seated urge to care for themselves by growing their own food.

            Finally, all gardeners work in the soil partly because they like to work. They see physical work as healthy and good.  They don’t mind getting dirty, and in fact, probably enjoy being that close to the earth.  Stooping and sweating become acts of love which minister to their overall sense of well-being.  They are creating something, at the same time knowing that there are numerous factors, weather etc., which can wipe out their work. That, of course, is part of the challenge.  They know that they are ultimately not in control of what happens, but they willingly extend themselves in an uncertain venture for physical as well as spiritual rewards.

            This sounds a lot like life to me.  God bless the farmers and gardeners of the world.  They live in the rhythm of life.

One thought on “Close to the Soil…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s