Not everything grows the way the catalogues promise. Not everything thrives where it is supposed to thrive. To see bare ground, then small shoots. Then stems with buds and then flowers in all shapes and sizes and colors and know that I chose to place them there brings about a joy that fills me up.
There is another beauty I await. There is another wonder that fills my eyes. The dry browns and tans, crispy leaves and shriveled berries. Twigs and stems bending to the ground in delicate shades with variations that don’t appear until you get close enough to discover their marvel.
I live in Centennial, Colorado. My part of the long tract that runs through several counties is near what is left of the plains that once stretched across what is now the Denver Metro area. Not much more than a few minutes away, however, I can still stand on ground Native Americans called home. My house, undoubtedly sits on it, too. But at the Plains Conservation Center, if I look in the right direction leaving the burgeoning suburbs behind me, I can still see through the eyes of those who came before me the hills covered by grasses, not green, not even in summer.
This open land makes me breath deeply. I feel its power. It can look barren to an unknowing eye. But if you watch, if you look closely, stand still, let the wind blow around you, you will find a barren land full of hope.
I allow my garden to stand through the winter. The animals can partake of what suits their fancy. It is now in the earliest of spring, or is it the latest of winter, that I clean the garden for the new season of planting.
I have tired of the bright colors of summer and luscious scents. I am weary of the delicacy of the faded leaves, the bent stems and haphazard patterns scattered over the soil.
It is time for barrenness. It is time for quiet. It is time for the ground to give me space to breathe in the cold air, fill my lungs and feel His life. It is time for my eyes to wander skyward seeing only clouds and blue, leaving greens and crayon box colors for later.
It is not suffering I seek. It is a simplicity that I yearn for. No stuff, nothing to distract me from my breath. I want to clean out the cobwebs that have been woven between and under and hidden within.
It is not guilt that leads me here to the open fields of my soul. It is the offertory of the stillness in the clearing. I want to begin again with no encumbrances.
Finding Him alone, waiting for me.