Today my garden sleeps under a blanket of snow while I catalog my garden seeds and make plans for next year’s garden. Winter for gardeners is a waiting game, waiting for snow to melt, waiting for the last frost so we can plant outside. And while we wait we plant seeds indoors, seeding trays to prepare for spring while the snow falls.
I’ve got jalapeno’s and thai basil over-wintering behind my kitchen sink, and irish moss that I didn’t get planted this fall sitting in pots on a shelf in my living room. (Of course, I like it so well there, I might just leave it! We’ll see…).
Outside, my garden is a wreck, last year’s tomato vines still tied to make-shift supports that I devised for them (memo to self, make better ones this year!). Dead vines lie in snowy tangles while I catalog what seeds are left from last year to start again on this glorious cycle of life, birth, death, and resurrection, all contained and shown in one year of a garden.
Sometimes this is most obvious with perennials, like this lavender that has managed to stay green under the snow. It will flower its fragrant, delicate blossoms again late spring through summer, but now it waits to be fully reborn.
Some perennials die back altogether and I cut them back and let the sleep, knowing that they’ll be back, bigger and brighter than last year as they become more and more established in my little beds.
And I am pregnant, a seed sown in my womb has grown into an active, thriving baby that stretches my body and jabs his head up under my rib cage as he becomes more cramped in his dark sphere.
Soon seeds will be germinating in my seed trays, growing beneath the surface before we ever see a sprout. And I wait for them, wait for spring.
Wait to plant.
Wait to birth.
We look all too often at waiting as a bad thing. We see a line and get impatient. Someone cuts us off and our blood pressure rises. Waiting seems like a little death, a little surrender, and yet, waiting is a time of preparation.
I was at the grocery store the other day, and while being waited on at the deli counter, a lady came up next to me to get her lunch meat. Well, apparently it was suddenly the thing to do, because several other people came up and we made a little ring around the deli counter. A second person came up to take orders, and the lady next to me, who was next, had stepped away briefly to grab some bread from the bakery. So she got passed over and the next person got helped first.
When I got finished, the guy helping me asked who was next, and I pointed at the lady next to me, because this other lady was pushing toward the front and he saw her first.
“That’s okay,” said the lady, “I’m on my lunch break and I have a whole hour.”
“But you were standing here longer,” I protested, feeling bad for her.
“It’s fine, I’m in no rush.”
I finished my shopping and was checking out, when who should end up behind me in line again, but the patient lady from the deli. It appeared she had checked out, and realized she’d forgotten coffee creamer. She left her bags on the end of the aisle, and went back for it, only to discover them all missing when she came back to pay for the creamer.
The checker apologized, it seemed the bagger had loaded them into the next customer’s cart and he hadn’t see it happen.
“That’s okay,” she said, “I know just what I got. I just wanted to make Rueben’s, so I’ll go get it again.”
“You’re not having the easiest shopping trip,” I said to her, feel bad for her again.
“It’s okay,” she smiled, “I have time.”
I walked away shaking my head thinking of all the times I’d been in a rush, been impatient, been put-upon by other people’s honest errors and hadn’t felt I had the time to extend them the grace this lady showed.
I’m guessing her blood pressure is in fantastic shape, and she lives with far less stress. She might even feel wealthy for someone rich in time is rich indeed, and while I wouldn’t want my whole lunch hour taken up because some people passed me over or lost my groceries, I hope that if that does happen, I’d have the grace to extend to them and in fact, to myself also. Far too often those few extra minutes of waiting seem to ruin a whole day, throw off an afternoon, make us surly on the way home, rude drivers, and impatient friends, spouses and parents.
How much better to view waiting as a time of preparation, no matter what form the waiting takes?