We are supposed to experience the natural world as the ultimate playground. When we enjoy and savour it, we fulfil its purpose, we lift it into meaning. But this is best done with dirty hands, with the sweet, musty smell of turned soil in our nostrils.
Here’s how Robert Farrar Capon, an author and vicar from New York, put it. (he’s unpacking Genesis 2:15, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”):
“Look, Adam, he says. Look closely. This is no jungle; it is a park. It is not random, but shaped. I have laid it out for you this year, but you are its Lord from now on. The leaves will fall after summer, and the bulbs will have to be split. You may want to put a hedge over there, and you might think about a gazebo down by the river – but do what you like; it’s yours. Only look at its real shape, love it for itself, and lift it into the exchanges you and I shall have. You will make a garden that will be the envy of the angels.”
from ‘An Offering of Uncles’, p54
Two Lent Challenges this weekend:
1. Plant something. Anything. Go outside, get your hands dirty, and enjoy the aliveness of the act.
If that’s a bit much, then try this:
2. Take your camera and try and get some close-ups of different buds appearing on trees and bushes. Upload them and look all their colours and shapes close up.