Lessons learned in a July garden

I picked the last of my bib lettuce last night. It had begun to bolt in the hot July weather. Eating it at lunch today I couldn't help but notice how it was almost bitter and how different the taste is then when I began harvesting the lettuce in May. The first leaves were fragile and sweet. Today’s leaves are tough. And bitter. But still so much better than what we can buy at the supermarket. I realized, too, that eating only commercially grown lettuce I would have missed the change in tastes.

I was prompted to reflect again about the holiness of working a garden. Dare I say that it is sacramental? I feel gratitude while in the garden. I feel connected to something beyond myself. The mystery that is nature. The blessedness of God's creation. (Fellow NCR staffer Rich Heffern writes much more eloquently on this subject.)

These things were on my mine when I came across this essay by Jack Heppner of Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada:

I am coming to the understanding that any notion of spirituality that does not include "creation spirituality" falls significantly short of what God is calling us to. And it must be a spirituality that translates into real life on God’s good earth.

I heard a lot myself in Heppner's essay. Like me, Jack says,

I am not sure what that all means for me. Perhaps it will mean supporting more vigorously the expanding composting program in my city. Perhaps it will mean being more aware of and reducing the amount of energy I consume. Or eliminating the use of pesticides on my property. It might even mean publicly challenging some of the earth-destroying practices of our culture.

What it means, I guess, is doing what you can.

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