Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guards of the Garden

The bushy row of bean plants formed a path bespeaking perfect serenity in the full sunlight of eight o' clock in the morning.

The limberlost guard knelt carefully and patrolled, gingerly, the fertile row of damp earth in the bean patch.

Birds sang their sweet "Good morning"s as trees towered above the reaching briers of raspberry plants, thick tomato vines full of green fruit, stretching strawberry runners, bejeweled and bushy flowers that gracefully reached for the sky, the quiet, cool green of onions and the beautiful red in the veins of beet greens.

Beautiful? Perhaps - but not without cost.

The Limberlost Guard recalled the screams of her companion when a timid snake slid away into the raspberry patch. Stiff fingers in October, sweaty backs in July, blisters anytime a hoe or shovel was involved, rocks in bare feet, "Daddy-long-legs" on bean leaves, beetles in the dirt, worms slithering about, stinging nettle, sticker plants underfoot that force the eyes to abnormal sizes and bring groans or yelps from the throat, sore fingers, sides, feet, knees, backs - just about everything, actually.

On a more emotional side of things:

If looks could kill, that garden could shrivel up and die beneath the dark countenances that frown so heavily upon it. (Actually, we've been pretty good about not doing that. This year.)

Some guards placed on patrol in this garden, feel resigned thankfulness for a bit of quiet time in the dirt, dew and fresh air. Others, a joyful kind of quickness that pulls out weeds with a "This isn't so bad. We're almost done!" or " When we're done we get to go shopping" kind of air about them.

Some, truly would rather be "anywhere" else, while more just see a job that needs to be done.

Altogether, in this jungle of dirt, suffering, sweat, peace, danger and beauty grows the most important product: Character.

Character, dear Guards of the Garden, is more valuable than clean fingernails, skirts that have no dirt on them, skin that knows no sunburn and knees that are not permanently stained from dirt throughout the summer. Character is the only thing you can take with you when you die. Really. And. Power without character is satanic.

On that note, since character is the most valuable plant that grows in the garden, I have asked my siblings to draw a picture of what an imaginary "Character Plant" looks like. Here are the results. :D

Rebecca (6 years old) drew the one on top. The main part of the plant is a carrot "Because," said she, "A carrot looks kind of like a person - with the hair and stuff. If you add some beans for the arms and legs it looks like a person." Thus...you have a carrot/bean-character-person-plant from our aspiring young artist ;)

Kara, on the other hand, felt a little mischievous. You can see what she did for yourself... it reminds me of that verse in Genesis about how the earth would be after Adam sinned - "thorns and thistles" was one of the things it mentioned. lol:)

 First, Isaac brought me a picture of a snake - much like the one that has kept us watching for itself in the grass, woodpile, gardens and rocks. Isaac turned it into a "Character Tree" for me, though. This is his finished work. :)

This is my humble contribution to the art gallery ;)


Elisabeth said...

So, how do you really feel about the garden? lol

The pictures are great. I got a laugh out of Isaacs - a snake turned into a character tree - just for you! lol

Kara's was quite a clever idea and Rebecca's was adorable.

And out of each plant grows character, so Anna says.

Loved your post.

Anna said...

Thank you! It was fun to write. lol:)

Actually, I've come to enjoy gardening very much...It's neat to see everything sprouting up at first, growing out/up, and then counting the final yield at the end. :)

This post was supposed to make gardening sound like a noble thing to do. (Facing all the dangers and trials and fears...) It was supposed to inspire those children who have not found an interest in it yet. :P At least it turned out funny.