Spring is almost here. I just started some tomato seeds and set them to sprout on the kitchen windowsill. I do this every year in February, for a couple of reasons.
One, by this point in winter I need to do something garden-related, or I’ll go stir-crazy. Since I fight Seasonal Affective Disorder, this ritual is one I hang tight to.
The second reason is more pragmatic. I love old things, historic things. People, places, structures, morals — even plants. My favorite people are old. So many stories to tell. I live in a historic home. The lives lived here, oh my goodness. I travel to destinations brimming with age-old stories. These places confound my imagination. As to my favorite recipes? Let’s not even start.
So yes, the veggies I grow every year are heirlooms. They require extra time to grow, and sometimes don’t turn out picture perfect, like the produce we find at the grocery store. With some, their skin is too thick and gets caught in your teeth. Others are too thin-skinned and fragile, splitting even after a mild June or July shower.
I plant these babies because I revere history. I like the idea that the things we eat—the very things we’re made of—are what we eventually become. As in “you are what you eat.” This explains my fear of junk-food, right? And my abhorrence to anything synthetic? I’m thinking, yes.
It’s also a case of not wanting to waste any space in my teeny-tiny yard, that miniscule bit of Earth I claim as my own, on something that doesn’t reflect me or my lifestyle. Period.
So, I don’t. The flower seeds I value are the prettiest heirloom double columbine I’ve ever seen. Vintage roses, and Old World poppies. Something the ’49ers might have viewed and loved. The tomatoes I choose aren’t attractive, and probably wouldn’t package well for market. But I love what’s on the inside. The depth of flavor. The intense taste identification with that particular vegetable.
There is a marked difference between store-bought and home-grown, for obvious reasons. Beyond that, there are differences between home-grown and heirloom, and further between different heirloom varieties.
My point is this. Plant what you like, but make sure you enjoy it, savor it, and gift seeds to others. Does the flower delight you? Does that veggie’s flavor wake up your taste buds? Are you better for growing it? Share it!
Now, take it one more step. Look far and deep inside yourself. Yes, I know it’s dark in there. What do you see beyond your too-thick or too-thin skin and less than beautiful exterior? Are you authentic, housing a treasure within a scarred exterior? Please know you are worthy of filling space in God’s garden, that your “seeds” can benefit others.
But do you dare to share enough of yourself to wake others up? Because that’s what some of us need right now. Too many are sleeping, complacent, comfy.
Go ahead, break free. Whatever God is sprouting inside you this year, nurture it. Be brave and trade your seeds of thought with others. Who knows, but that we’ll all be stronger, richer and wiser.
So, take that detour. Walk with God down the garden path and reflect on what He’s planted in you. Grow.
“Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.” ~ May Sarton
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Thank you Heidi. I always feel so comforted by your writings. It reminded me of a time I was caring for my Mom who was on Hospice. She had one little garden strip but it only got light till noon. I wanted her to have something from her garden before she died, so I took a chance and planted some tiny cherry tomatoes and a few little hardy flowers. The birds got most of the tomatoes but I put two on a little plate and took them to her in bed. She was legally blind but when I told her they came from the garden, her eyes twinkled and her frown turned to a toothless smile. She was so pleased. Gardens can give us such good memories. I’ll never forget that.
Cynthia, thank you! I’m glad the words I write somehow touch you. But what I’m reading about the way you related to your mother as her world was shrinking touches me. The time investment alone for setting up a tiny garden, and managing to rescue tomatoes for her. You gave her life worth, showed her a glimpse of immortality in those tomatoes. As far as she knew, they were but the beginning of a crop that would feed others past her days here on earth. What you did was beautiful. You touched her heart in a way she could understand. And I know you touched mine!
Thanks for sharing. So wish I had a green thumb, but they are both serious black. I’m a plant serial killer. If it grows around my place it has to survive on neglect. I hope I do better with sharing myself and the seeds planted in me.
I know you share of yourself beautifully, Michelle. You are an inspiration!
I love to have friends who grow veggies to share. Living in a tiny condo, I don’t have room to grow anything except some flowers in small pots. The heirloom tomatoes are the best! I wish you lived closer so we could share a tomato and avocado sandwich!
Thank you for your encouragement to dig deep inside ourselves and to harvest the treasure that is within. Rooting out those too-long held disappointments will help reap a beautiful crop of blessing to others.
I enjoyed this, Heidi. I love the fact that what you plant is a reflection of what you love…it matches your character. That’s being true to yourself for sure. The idea of truth to self, especially in how God made us, is what draws people in and helps connection happen.
Thanks for sharing these thoughts today.
Thank you, Susan. I love the way you put that!
Love this reminder … and a timely reminder as God is shaking our household up a bit and sending us on a new adventure! Encouraging!
Thanks, Robynne. I hope your adventure brings blessings!
I love this reminder that the seeds God has planted in me can be a blessing to others. And like you, I’m itching to dig in the dirt. I recently spent several days digging up my mother’s treasured iris bulbs for a road widening, and she admonished me about using my bare hands. I dutifully put on gardening gloves, but I loved the feel of the soil on my hands. Without the gloves, I could also get a better feel full where the bulbs would give up their grip in the soil. Maybe there’s a lesson in there, too, finding the places where we need to give up our grip and let God change us.
I like that! I also prefer to go gloveless, for the same reasons. And now I’m wondering where I can loosen my grip!
I always love the out doors going for walks and now it’s gardening I love the fell of the warm dirt and planting things watching them pop up out of the dirt. I feel close to my LORD when I am in the the garden one day we will in his beautiful garden. I love that he made dirt to play in and make our own gardens.