Soul Gardening in Summer

Soul Gardening in Summer

July 20th, 2011 (No Comments)


Summer is here. This season calls to the writer in me. As I begin to type this morning, I note my swollen fingers, my dirt encrusted fingernails, and the scars, insect-bites, and bruises along my limbs. It has been a busy gardening season, but yesterday with relief, I put the last of my seedlings into the ground, and composted some left-over leggy vegetable plants with a sigh. Enough is enough. It is time to stop working in the hot sun and relish the fruits of my labor. The heavy work is done; Nature takes her place as the Master Gardener now.

Summer invites me to rest in a special, more active way than winter rest. Every moment of summer calls me to stop and pay attention.  From the first robin song at dawn, to the gleaming dance of the fire-flies at night, I am invited into a delightful symphony of awareness. Every leaf, every flower, every hopping, squirming or flying thing shouts out its magnificence, its uniqueness in this Circle of Life.

Winter’s season is more about finding warmth and comfort from the complexity of layers of meaning, of digging deep beneath the soil line of our lives. Summer is the season to strip off the clothes of work, and revel unashamedly naked in the abiding presence of creation and her summer song. It is the time to boldly step out and let loose our deepest soul voice. It is the time to lift our heads and then bow to each grace-filled thread that connects us in this web called Life.

Despite this, I notice with some chagrin how remarkably hard it is to actually stop and relax into the natural world of growth. How much easier to continue to see the weeds that need attention, to worry about whether it will rain, or to plan for next year’s projects. Like the still drops of early morning dew on a flower, pure undiluted pleasure waits for us to join her. I long to more easily and consistently revel in the wonder of summer’s abundance. I’d like to write a concerto extolling the hilarity of nature’s ways. Instead I am apt to find myself wallowing in the dark shadow of the compost pile and moldering, along with last week’s water-melon rinds. God knows how much sordid delight there is in focusing on all the refuse of this world.

Those of us called to be soul gardeners tend to gravitate into the depths of mystery, to lurk in cloistered carrels searching for the alchemist’s stone, rather than flying the heights of sheer delight. Frolicking with my muse is one of my goals this summer. I wonder – what might it look like to abandon myself to nature’s love? My floral containers, garden rows and borders, and exact word placements are laughable but creative attempts to copy and control the mystery of that burgeoning wildness called Love.

In ‘The Seven of Pentacles’, Marge Piercy profoundly describes soul gardening as a season of unparalleled, mysterious growth.  “She is looking at her work growing away there actively …” It is interesting to note that the Tarot card, the Seven of Pentacles, offers itself as a time for assessment, a reward for hard work done, and yet a turning point for change. Today I hear the call to join Marge, along with Mary Oliver and Thoreau and Jesus; to put away the plans, resist the urge to commit myself to one more project, and with deep silent gratitude to all that is seen and unseen,  accept the invitation to enter the restful, abundant joy of summer.

…for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,

after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Summer Solstice 2011

Carol Kortsch


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