Garden soil tends to dry out when we get this far into summer. Maybe it’s because we gardeners get lax, after the super-scorching days have passed, and don’t water deeply enough. But when the earth gets to a certain degree of dryness, it sheds water, rather than absorbing what it needs. You can stand there with a hose for ten minutes, and then put your finger down into the dirt and discover that one inch down it’s bone-dry.
This water-repelling phenomenon happened to me at church today. Last week I planted lots of violas and stocks. The weather is still borderline too warm for them, but we are getting the property ready for our big food festival coming up, and I thought they would do o.k. if they were kept moist.
(Two plants–the large green leaves are the Burning Bush, from the Holy Land. And the red berries are hips on a Nootka Rose.)
There are several of us who irrigate the plants that aren’t on automatic watering, and sometime in the last week someone of us let the ground dry out. Today some stocks were languishing so much that I knew they wouldn’t look good in a week, so I drove down the road to the nursery and bought some more stocks, and some more violas. Came back and soaked the ground, and mashed the water into the baked soil with my trowel, and re-planted.
I often think, at such times, how much extra time it takes to re-do and fix things, that if I had just done them right, wouldn’t need fixing. And immediately I thought of the spiritual counterpart. Lately I had let things dry out, just when the cares of this world were making me more thirsty than usual.
Most likely the soil of my soul was not able to take up the moisture needed from the showers of blessing I was getting. If only I had been more constant in feeding and watering my soul…but I hadn’t. And it got to the point where extra attention was needed—more time and labor, to overcome the effects of the stress of drought. I don’t want to look like some of those Johnny Jump-Ups that I saw splayed on the ground! But even they, after their soil was moistened up so that they could drink, quickly revived and stood up straight.
Repentance is not self-flagellation; it is an opening flower. -Fr. Kallistos Ware