Monday, June 09, 2008

Why Cover?


Sun burns on my back. Loamy earth, freshly tilled by husband, sinks under me, extra weight from baby low in front pulls me further down, and I shift, blowing the hair out of my eyes.

The holes I've dug for an hour stretch out in front, neat and empty, waiting to be filled. Plants lining the ground near the chicken coop droop sadly in the heat of the morning; I must hurry.

I pull them gently out of their containers, tenderly breaking the roots so they may stretch deep into their new home, and I lower them into dark cavities. But what are these?


Their roots trail down the inside of the hole, lovely and white. I glance at the row that remains to be filled and spy more... some with only heads peeking out, some with only roots. All of the hoeing done by husband, and you are still here? I chuckle and begin to fill the hollow, the Early Girl tomato's new home. I brush the loose dirt and fill halfway, then pause to ask...

Will I see you again?

I know the answer.

In just days, perennial weeds - healthy, strong from faithful watering - will poke their heads through the topsoil. Hard work spent tilling and removing rocks and weeds will be repeated as husband, or myself, take to our knees to pull baby heads from the earth, careful to pull gently; some may entwine themselves around the tender roots of our summer and autumn food, and what we will put by for the winter.

It is inevitable.

But not for these weeds.

Why cover?

I see them now; their spidery white roots are clearly visible. It would take but a few moments to reach down and pull them from my new plant's safe home, clearing the way for the nutrients to supply only food roots, purposefully placed roots.

I bend again, and begin pulling. My nails are now fully caked with dirt, and my lower back aches from the position. I shift to sit full in the earth, and think...

How very like me to cover rather than contend.

Bad habits for me begin subtly, usually tiny, spidery white roots peeking out alongside a new resolution, an inspired moment. Most times, I would rather pull crumbled earth to cover and forget it is there while I revel in new purpose, new character building. But it shows it's face again. Oh, yes.

And I recognize it as it appears. It is familiar, this habit, and I sadly shake my head as I realize it is now bigger, much harder to remove from my life than if I had only dealt with it when it was young.

Kneeling again, I pull faster, intent on dealing now with every weed I see, no matter how small. Fully aware that there are pods of weeds not even yet awakened that I will certainly see in a week's time, I purpose to not recognize a single one, for that would mean I had seen them before, and chosen to ignore.

I finish planting and filling, and rise to my feet for the first time in hours. And it feels good.

Looking over the neat rows, knowing what does and doesn't lie beneath, I pray for the grace to tend my own vineyard. To rid and pluck when inclination speaks, Leave them... cover them...

I will not.

There is no room for them alongside the good seed He would have me tend.

7 fellow travelers shared:

Ginger said...

You write so beautifully. Reminds me of the parables in Matthew 13 - so many analogies from the soil. Those sneaky weeds that try to disguise themselves and blend right in with the plant, and unless I look very closely, I myself am deceived. The sin that so easily entangles... Enjoy your garden "manicure". I love that feeling of fresh soil in my hands.

Beverly said...

How often, indeed? This bears reading again, and again. How often we "cover," as you so aptly put it - and choose to ignore, when we should not tolerate! Thanks for this. And enjoy the fruits of your garden!!

Me said...

I was thinking along the exact same lines yesterday as I weeded.

I hope you are well.

Hugs, M

Andrea said...

So true of us to "cover". I know I do. Ugh.
Your writing is a *balm* for my soul.
much love.

Bekki said...

I will help you pull weeds when I get back. Especially since one of my tomato plants has a home in your garden!

EEEEMommy said...

I've been challenged in so many similar ways since I started gardening. I never knew that growing plants would be a spiritual endeavor!

Danielle said...

Elise, congratulations on your o-so-beautiful and grumpy son. He is truly adorable and just looking at him makes me long for another (my littlest is 2 1/2 now).

I absolutely loved how you wrote about the weeds! As I write, my garden is crowded with weeds and grass, and they grow bigger by the day, while I wait breathlessly for a shower to soften them up. There is nothing like the rain of God's word to hasten obedience, eh? But I see no shower coming, so I think I'm going to have to get out there. Anyway. SIgh.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I thought for sure that I was an abandoned ghost town :-).

I am so thankful for you and all that you write. You are a sweet shepherdess; a fitting helpmeet to your shepherd :-).


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