The March Garden // 2023
March is the month I just have to hold on. By this time the garden is still pretty ugly, although by the end of the month it gets to being gangly. Gangly is different than ugly. With gangly there are palpable ends of hope and awkward bursts of something though it still feels muddled much of the time.
Is it going to be snow, frost, hail or sunshine? Will the sky stay clear blue or are the clouds going to roll in? Just make up your mind! But March is the Queen of Not Making Up Its Mind and it’s the month in my garden that holding on seems like all you can do.
It will be beautiful. We will get to plant. The zinnias will bloom and the roses will parade. I will sit in Green Fables and be enchanted. The splintering wood, wiry fence, and patchy grass will be less noticeable when the flowers do come in.
Apart from the garden, March also feels like the month where the New Year has settled into its tragedy and brokenness. By now we have heard of death, destructive storms, terrible accidents, and illness. It all feels so tired. Without the rush of spring and the blustering activity of summer, we sit on the bridge between winter and blooming things and hear every creak, feel every bit of cold in the raindrops, taste sorrow in the biting air. We are ready to see what we know is true–life with God means winter can’t freeze the water beneath this bridge. It’s going to bubble, burst, flow, move. It’s going to feed the roots of trees and pool around the wildflowers.
The sun will feel warm and we will marvel how God carried us through the worst, how the shadows become shade again, and how we have always had Refuge in every season.
But even in March where beauty is lacking, it also isn’t. The newly planted fruit tree has its tag fluttering in the breeze. There’s miles of new growth on the roses. It’s a gift to catch the sun whenever you can. There is the laughter of your baby! Snow dusts are beautiful on the Green Fables front gate. There’s an orange wildflower popping through the sunflower bed of its own accord. Well, God’s doing, of course!
The buttercups are glistening. Those tiny purple hillside flowers are having a go at being tall. Sometimes the little boy can wear shorts. Your hands are dirty doing real garden work. The snow peas made it through all the snowstorms and frosty mornings with flying colors.
The little girl will turn 1 and you’ll push her in the same swing her brother once spent hours in. She won’t be tucked in the baby quilt made by community women and given to you at her 3-day appointment, and you won’t even feel sad about it.☺ She’s crawling away, loving the cat, exploring. She’s getting dirty, waving a stick. You’ll have her strawberry birthday party with dear friends. Strawberry ice-cream on her actual birthday and cake for the celebration. Growing like weeds, the both of them!❤
The frogs will be singing loud at night telling you that yes(!!) spring is here though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet. Your sister-in-law will send you a photo of the harvested sunflower seeds sprouting in her desert garden. The Christmas stocking stuffer becomes a song for spring! Isn’t it lovely how life weaves through? How harvesting those seeds on the living room floor in autumn has become the happiness of a desert garden in springtime! Isn’t it amazing how life can start in one place, be dormant, and then all the sudden burst through as though it had never been a dead sunflower, never a dried shell! There has always been life inside.
Kinda like March.
And one day very soon we will see what we know is true.
Perhaps the tenderness of March is us learning, us harboring anticipation, us hoping, us knowing. . .
Anchored, but ready to sail! Water is moving beneath this bridge, and we must go–paper boats and all!
And if the old tree falls before spring can show its face yet still becomes a playful thing when death had once seemed so final. . .and if that same old tree can be a secret garden passageway lying on it’s side surrounded by tiny wildflowers unbothered by death, danger, and fleeting beauty, then I too can take a page from that book. . .maybe it’s my story too. Life never does end when the tree falls down. Winter hasn’t lasted forever. Hope means that hard things, though ever present, aren’t final.
We always mistake March for the harshest of middles, but it’sactually quite a glorious beginning.
I won’t miss it this time!
That bridge I mentioned earlier is made of the old dead tree itself and spring is in our midst. I think I’ll try balancing myself on it again. Maybe sail the paper boat?😄 All these stops and starts, the awkward flails and misfires may just bring a laugh.
Hope is a gangly thing–
an old dead tree splayed down the hillside, a little, growing girl full of curiosity crawling off her newborn baby quilt, wildflowers smashed beneath a happy boy’s yellow boots. Us here and seeing time and time again, spring always does come.
And us with it. . .more sure in the hope of Christ than ever before.