It’s been a long, hot summer. Friends in Europe and Asia have been wilting along with us in the States. (Except for Northern California, that is.) And this is the summer I’m trying my hand at gardening, for the first time ever. Before now, I’ve only grown plants inside the safety and shelter of a flower pot. I’m learning a lot – mostly through my mistakes – about how to take care of my garden, and about how similar my garden is to my own spiritual life.
Most of my flowers survived for a while in the drought and extreme heat of the last two months. They looked fine from the outside and I couldn’t tell anything was wrong. Their colors were vibrant and they put on a spectacular show. But when I touched the soil down deep, it was as parched as a desert. There came a point when several of the flowers could no longer fool anyone that all was well. The signs began to show: yellow leaves, withered leaves, droopy heads. They looked tired; desperate for life-giving water. Sprinkling water on the leaves only helped temporarily; it didn’t affect the plant long-term. The only solution to their thirst was to flood their roots, the point where they connect to the source, every day.
There are other things I can do to help my garden succeed. While some flowers can survive in the baking sun, others will need to be moved to a shadier spot next season in order to thrive. Likewise, I need to position myself in the best environment for my own growth. Some bully plants tend to take over and need to be cut back, so they won’t grow wildly out-of-control and overshadow the more delicate flowers. Often I’m the bully plant that needs pruning. Mulch around the flowers helps them hold the moisture in at their roots so it doesn’t trickle away. Friends can help me remain close to my Source and remember. The fragile plants need to be protected from vicious predators, predators which often parade as harmless. Turns out even our cute friends Bambi and Bugs are out for themselves and won’t hesitate to devour our flora.
Flowers need a lot of care. So do people.