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May the Circle be Unbroken

In one of her first posts, 20MinuteJan mentioned her hope about how our backyard could be a little bit of the garden of Eden. Maybe so. Recently we experienced something more akin to the Expulsion from Eden.

A couple weeks ago, Jan attempted to finish the edging on the circular bed which would allow us to put the final plants in the ground. I thought I had several good reasons not to help, some of which were actually agriculturally sound–but beside the point. While she toiled, I stood on the back porch and offered my constructive criticism. Heck, I basically explained how she was going about the whole task incorrectly. I’m sure she worked longer than her 20 minutes because I had more than enough material for a good hour long lecture. It ended with Jan throwing down her tools in disgust and storming past me into the house. In retrospect, I’m fortunate that it didn’t end in her planting that spade squarely in my chest.

Jan and I are equally intelligent, equally opinionated and we’re a matched set when it comes to stubbornness as well — even if I think I know more about gardening. For days now, the edging has sat out back like a reticulated, black snake lolling on the straw. There was a pile of bricks knocked over and abandoned like the Tower of Babel. And most galling, in the garden wedge where our eggplant and kale should be, there were weeds a foot tall.

Today, we were given a miracle. Somehow, Jan and I worked together to get the edging on the circle bed finished. The hot bright sun made it seem much longer than 20 minutes but I think the edging only took 20 minutes while the bricks and preparing the soil maybe took another 20. The technical details aren’t as important as the miracle. The circle of our garden was broken and something even more miraculous than apology and forgiveness — in my case, mostly forgiveness — was needed to make the circle whole again. And that miracle happened. The bed feels fuller than before. The eggplant are there. The kale too. Planting them was nearly no effort whatsoever despite the sun.

I usually bristle when folks try to apply religious images too directly to everyday life; I never would have compared our backyard to Eden. But when I look out the back window at the garden’s perfection — temporary, partial — I can think of no other word to describe it except “miracle.”

Posted in • Sitting Still.