Thursday, May 27, 2021

Old and New

 As the spring fills the air with sweet scents and pollen, and the green life rises in trees and grass, it's a lovely time for newness.  I feel that in my own garden at home.  Every year, the joy of gardening is twofold.  There's the delight in the return of old friends.  My seed-saved green beans date back half a decade, and setting those little irregular white kidneys into the loosened, freshly composted earth has a ritual familiarity to it.  I know these little friends, and I knew their ancestors back five generations.  I know what they yield, and how they grow.  There's something definitely akin to affection returning those seeds to soil.  

My kale goes back three years, and the plants that I started back in the fall have yielded gallons of lovely, nutty-sweet greens.  That won't last long, as the heat of the summer sun and the nibbling predations of caterpillars will soon take their toll.  But I'm letting 'em go to seed again this year, a familiar harvest of spiky pods that will give me greens for years to come.  I've done that for years now, and again, there's a sense of welcoming back old friends.

But there's newness, too, as there is every year when I experiment with things I've not yet tried.  I'm trying butternut squash this year, after having saved the seeds from a squash gifted from a neighbor's garden.  I'll need to tend those squash carefully, as I've lost prior years attempts at spaghetti and summer squash to borers.  Butternut is just so delicious, though, so into the soil those seeds went.  

There are sunflowers, too, which is a first, stirred mostly by the memory of sunflower patches from when I was a little boy in Kenya.  I remember goggling up at the towering flowers in awe, because flowers were supposed to be smaller than me, and wow.  That, and the seeds are tasty and roastable.  So we'll see.

There are the lovely little drawstring bags which I'm hoping will finally save at least some of my blueberry harvest from the sparrows, squirrels, and starlings.  Perhaps this year, more than just one or two blueberries will make it into my mouth.   Again, we'll see.

Each day in God's creation offers us much the same blend of new and familiar, if we look for it.  There's always the comfort of a pattern that reassures.  There's always something new, sometimes startling, sometimes so subtle we have to listen carefully for it.  That's just part of the wonder of life, this last year has reminded just so very precious.