Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Mid-Michigan Advent, Day 4: Patience

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. -- 2 Peter 3:9

My gardening enterprise has been a challenge this year. My new vegetable garden is at the edge of the trees that separate our property from the neighbors' on the west side. Half the plot gets less than optimum light for hot-weather summer vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers. The sunny side of the garden is, alas, also the lowest part of the garden, and if we have a hard rain both the garden itself and the surrounding lawn are sodden for at least a day. The soil is so naturally acid that even after regular applications of lime I still had to fight new flushes of moss creeping onto the cultivated soil. My garden compost pile -- the small-scale nutrient factory that I've nurtured according to expert advice, that is supposed to provide me with regular batches of rich, dark soil amendment -- is functional but slower than I'd hoped. One online resource advised that it might take two years for one year of kitchen refuse and dry organic matter to fully compost in such a system.

I'm not the most patient person in the world. I'm also not the most forbearing of persons. I have abandoned more projects midway through than I care to count.

But I have, for whatever reason, a heart for my garden.

Earlier this fall, when I cleaned up the last of the summer vegetables, I raked in another application of lime. I made a raised bed for garlic; the first of a series of 5-inch raised beds that I'm going to dig within the present perimeter. After planting my garlic bed I raked natural fertilizers into the rest of the garden, and planted a green manure crop of white clover over the whole thing, and in all the other fall-cleared beds around the house.

Because I think I can make something of this. I really do. I am okay with this year being a building year. Next year I will be a bit more mindful about liming and fertilizing, about planting the right plants in the right places, about tending them more faithfully.

The epistle lesson in today's Morning Prayer can be read as a baleful, wait-until-your-father-gets-home eschatological red alert. That's how I read it at first. But then I started thinking instead of God's patience and forbearance; how God, unlike me most of the time, can wait for a positive, fruitful response from God's creation, "not wanting any to perish."

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