This year I did something I had never done in my life. Both of my parents did it, but I was never interested, even though they tried to get me involved. Some of my siblings did it as did many of my friends. Over the years I have heard hundreds of stories from people who did it, some happily and others regretfully. My excuse was that I didn’t have the time, but probably at the root of my resistance was the fact that I was ignorant of what to do. Oh, I guess I could have read about it or asked someone more experienced at it, but just never got around to doing it. But this year, I decided to do it. Actually, the impetus to do it began last year, and because during the intervening months I had told people my plans, I felt the pressure to put my words into action. So, this year, for the first time, I planted a garden.
When I planted the garden the rains had not yet been plentiful. Of course, people advised, “Father Dennis, pray for rain!” But my standard response to that urging is, “I’m in sales not service!” (But the rains did come.) There are many ingredients to any garden – seeds, sun, rain – but the essential ingredient is soil, just plain, good old dirt. Even though there is much current discussion about environmental concerns like air and water quality, we may overlook what is happening under our feet. Pope Francis seems to notice because in his encyclical, Laudato Si, he calls our attention to the loss of biodiversity which is in part due to soil degradation. Fortunately, nature does a good job in regeneration by mulching and so one of my tasks before planting was to dig leaves into the soil. (Full disclosure, I also added organic fertilizer.)
My little plot of land pales in significance to other gardens and farm fields, but at least it is a small reminder that all of us are called to be wise stewards of the earth, for it is our common home. Jesus speaks of rich soil yielding a hundredfold, but I will be happy if something grows in my little garden!
– Fr. Dennis Lynch