I love to garden, a love I inherited from my maternal grandmother, who lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Growing up in Alaska, my siblings and I didn’t get to visit her very often. But I still remember her house on Fall Street and the large garden she always had, filled with a wide variety of vegetables, and all the beautiful flowers she had growing in her yard. She got a great deal of enjoyment (not to mention, a bounty of fresh vegetables) from her garden, and was proud to have one of the best looking yards on her street.
I think it was those childhood memories that kindled the gardening bug in me. And while I and/or the cats manage to quickly kill any plant that I bring into my house, I have a pretty good green thumb when it comes to growing plants and flowers outside. So every spring I look forward to being able to get my hands dirty planting my garden and my flower pots.
Over the past few days, as I was laying out my garden, filling my tubs and flower pots with soil, and planting my tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and flowers, I was reflecting on how different spring feels to me this year.
This spring, as you know, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. A virus has swept around the world like a tidal wave, upending lives and economies, and the whole world seems to have come to a screeching halt as we fight to defeat the invisible enemy of Covid-19.
Against this backdrop, planting my garden and my flowers this year felt particularly like an act of hope to me, because part of what I struggle with in the midst of this crisis is the sense of unpredictability that I feel.
For the first 3 weeks, particularly, the virus situation in this country was so fluid that it was difficult for me to think too far ahead because of the uncertainty of what each day would bring. But even now, after 5 weeks, when I feel a little more adjusted to what seems to be a “new normal,” there are still a lot of unknowns about the future.
So planting my garden this year gives me hope because it feels like I’m grounding myself (literally and figuratively) in something beyond the uncertainty of the present moment and what the future will bring. My garden brings me joy and gives me something to tend and nurture as well as something to look forward to with anticipation.
I know that life may not ever completely return to what it was before Covid-19, but this virus situation will not last forever and that we will get through it. So my prayer for each of you is that in the midst of all that is happening in our country and in the world right now, you find something that grounds you and brings you joy, hope and peace.