Thursday, March 2, 2017

And So it Begins

It is started.
On Ash Wednesday.
The first seeds of the new harvest have officially been sown.

We cleaned and straightened the greenhouse last week; spread a thin layer of soil over the plastic-covered shelves, arranged the warming cables and tested the sockets, the timer and the lights. The resilience of the electrical connections always astounds me as the fluorescents warm to a glow, announcing with light that winter has been survived. Lori had rearranged the packets in order of germination schedules, and then we waited -- until yesterday and today. Premium potting soil, met with a little warm water, shaped by a forming tool into soil blocks and nestled in trays as open and receptive arms for those tiny repositories of potentiality sprinkled in and gently covered. I've felt more than a few shivers of excited anticipation. It is started.

I know it might be impertinent, here at the commencement of this contemplative Lenten season, to play on Jesus’ ironic words spoken from the cross at the season’s other end -- “It is finished” -- but this, too, is an auspicious moment. And I rather think Jesus would approve. After all, isn't it elsewhere in scripture noted that “unless a seed falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”? If I might be momentarily theological, the irony of Jesus’ own pronouncement is that only in the most literal, limited and pedestrian sense was anything, on that Good Friday afternoon, really “finished.” Ever since that moment believers have asserted that a whole new reality was only beginning.

So it is that the first of our assembled and readied seeds have fallen into earth to die in order that they might bear much fruit. First the comfrey and nettle, then the sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme and lemon balm. Next week the greenhouse population will expand as peppers of assorted varieties join the parade, and then tomatoes and brassicas and more. The volume only grows louder as the shelves grow heavier and more crowded as the seedlings progress toward May’s transplanting. It will seem at once like forever until then, and only tomorrow.

Either way, there will be ample to keep us busy, and we are ready -- the spray bottle, the sprinkling can and the stored rain barrels with saved water from autumn. And a calendar focused on the process.

Another shiver of excitement. Because it's nice to turn away from decay, for a time, and focus instead on growth.

It is started, indeed.