I spent this early Spring afternoon with my hands in the soil. I knelt and methodically weeded and loosened the winter-packed earth. Then, carefully smoothed the surface and measured out my rows and gently settled the tiny seeds, alternating and repeating double rows of lettuce, spinach, and carrots. The sun warmed my back; the breeze still blew with a chill. The earth released the scent of hope.
It occurred to me, as I loosened the ground that planting seeds is an act of faith. It’s faith in a future we hope will come for us. We settle the seeds in the soil and hope for salads and for roasted carrots. I check the package 45 days until salad and 75 days until roasted carrots. As if, by settling these seeds in the soil today, I can assure that 75 days from now, all will be well because I’ll be back ready to harvest the carrots. I don’t know what else will come, but carrots will be ready to pick.
I ponder the odd sort of mind-game I am playing with time and the soil. Several years ago, just after moving into our small farmhouse, my husband became ill with a mystery sickness. The Doctors had no diagnosis and kept passing us off to yet another specialist. At that time, with two small children, a fixer upper of an old farm house and no idea what the future might hold, I needed something to tie my family to the future in a meaningful way.
So, I bought and planted 6 apple tree saplings. I held onto a image of these small saplings, growing tall. It was all I could do to assure myself that we’d all be a part of the future apple harvest. I used my sweat, my growing blisters, and a desperate determination and used those fragile trees as an anchor that I tossed ahead, years ahead, into the uncertain future. We were all there, the day we finished planting the last one and we would all be there to enjoy the first fruits in ten years.
Today, these small seeds are another smaller anchor I toss forward to ensure the coming 75 days. Days of sun and rain, wind and hope in a future I had no other assurance would come. Because of my work today, I’ve reached forward to touched a day that hasn’t yet dawned.
Twelve years after settling each of those trees in the ground, my beloved husband has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia, the two small boys have grown into young men. Those six trees flower each Spring. The Spring flowers, reaching forward, promise Fall fruits. Each Spring we are, thus, given the promise of Fall.
Today, these small seeds nestle in this rich soil. The sun warms my back, the breeze and the ground still hold a chill. Planting these tiny seeds is my prayer for the future, another small act of faith in the coming months. The sun will shine, rain will fall, one day will follow another as roots grow, sprouts lift to the light and the harvest will feed my family. One by one I reach forward and trust to touch the future.