The Holy Act of Planting a Garden by Pam Montgomery
This past month is the time of year when a certain type of anticipation takes hold of me – it’s garden time. I have been a gardener my entire adult life and I still have the same joy, grief, sore muscles and utmost reverence for the gift of planting seeds in the soil of this magnificent Earth. I still am awe struck by the miracle of planting a very tiny seed in this seeming vast amount of dirt only to have it sprout several days later and then grow into a sizeable plant that becomes food – WOW!! How does that happen? I don’t mean the composition of soil plus water and sun but what is the force that makes a seed become food that we eat which then nourishes us so we may live?
Mark and I have been reading out loud to each other Martín Prechtel’s newest book titled The Unlikely Peace of Cuchumaquic; The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive. It is one of the most phenomenal books you will ever read especially if you are a plant/earth honoring person. As we planted our corn (and some of Martín’s corn given to us during ritual) we were reminded to make prayers for good growth, to ask to be blessed by the face of the Mother in the form of beautiful ears of corn and to not forget that corn and all wild or cultivated food plants are the most generous of beings as they give of their lives so that we may live. As Martín says, “This is the beginning of the literacy of seeds that is learned only through their cultivation by way of an Agreement: that only through the consciousness of the reality of their loss to feed you, and the realization that plants and animals are not shackled minions or complacent slaves, or victims to be badly farmed or ranched cruelly or shuffled about as dead matter, but your superiors, braver, better things, who through their generous deaths and the honor of your preparing beautiful food of them that goes to feed beautiful people who also know how to receive it, people who feed and don’t waste, disparage, or take their food for granted, can the Holy in Nature that gives us life, give us as well this opportunity to become spiritually educated humans, through the sacred career of spiritual farming.”
This season, as never before, I’ve come to understand the anticipation inside me that I now recognize as a sense of grace that envelopes me when I’m present with my garden. This is my holy ground, my church, my most precious time to be in deep communion with the Holy in Nature and more importantly to be remembered by the seeds I plant, the ones with the “long view” teaching me what it means to be truly human.
Perhaps we have forgotten what it means to be truly human but the plants have not forgotten us. They generously give to us each and every day in the form of food, medicine, clothing and shelter while showering us with beauty, breath and radiance.
Now that seeds have joined with their Grandmother Earth after having been shelled from their Mother plant as they nestle and swell from the recent rains perhaps carrying a kind of anticipation not so unlike my own they live out their destiny of becoming food, a most magnificent expression of the Holy in Nature. When I honor, remember and tell the story of these seeds becoming plants that are food I take up my rightful place as a part of nature and in my own small way help keep the Agreement with the Holy in Nature alive.