Well, now that I have all your attention, I will say that I have no intention of discussing any speculation regarding the location of the Garden of Eden or whether such a garden ever existed. What I did discover this past weekend is that it exists in my backyard!

It has been custom to complete the seeding and planting of my backyard garden by the end of Victoria Day weekend. I’m not sure what a long dead head of a fading empire has to do with it other than that a day off from work in her honor happens in late spring when the danger of frost has passed.

Anyways, this year I almost doubled our garden size by hauling 6 yards of dirt one wheelbarrow at a time down a significant hill to the place in the back that gets the most sun [formerly my youngest son’s sandbox he has grown out of]. I did not count how many trips I made but it was enough to give me the worst pain in the neck, back and shoulders I have ever had. Sleepless nights and two trips to the chiropractor have been the result! This hauling was finally finished about a week ago.

This past Saturday dawned bright and sunny; the perfect day for seeding and planting. I’m trying a few new crops this year with the expanded space [spinach, corn, pole beans and broccoli] and have increased my space for the usual [carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, peas, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, and the trusty radishes]. I also replanted strawberries in a new place while the rhubarb and raspberries continue to anchor our west coast garden [I have to cut them back so they don’t take over!]. I also added oregano and dill to my herb garden that already includes sage, basil, chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chamomile, lemon balm, spearmint, peppermint, yarrow, and lavender. The list seems long now that I actually name them all! What a variety of tastes and fragrances! Reflecting on this causes worship of God as a reading of Genesis 1-2 was designed to do! What a privilege to tend such a garden! My little piece of paradise.

After 8 months of engaging the head and heart in the office and classroom I find it very therapeutic to be outside digging in the dirt. This theology is just as deep and maybe even a bit more practical and it is easier to see the difference I’m making. There are obstacles of course and this year I took a new precaution to deal with the neighborhood cats who last year destroyed a good portion of my vulnerable seedlings of carrots and lettuce by digging around to disguise their defecation. I’ve tried cayenne and other smelly substances which did not work so this year I put netting over the whole garden. One of these years I may have to go to the expense of putting up an electric fence. I agree that the nice soft fresh dirt seems too good to resist but I like to dig my hands in it to grow my food which doesn’t mix well with what they leave!

This year provided perfect planting conditions with a week of warm dry weather following by some nice soaking rains beginning Sunday afternoon, the day after all the seeds were in the ground. I was able to relax [as much as my pain in the neck would allow!] and let the miracle happen underground. I know that we now have scientific explanations for how seeds sprout and grow but to me, it is still a miracle and the spiritual analogies mystify me today just as they did for Jesus and Paul a few thousand years ago.