I wish you could see what I see.
But even a picture doesn’t do it justice.
The woods surrounding my tiny village are in full force of transformation… oranges, yellows, reds, pinks, and purples shouting from the sloping hills, “Fall is here, Fall is here!” It’s a song of celebration.
A celebration of death’s beauty.
It’s the death of green foliage that once signified the resurrection of Spring and the sustenance of Summer.
The miracles of life now metamorph into brilliant displays of Autumn… death’s march… not in shades of black and grey but of the brightest, most awe-inspiring shades of victory and praise.
Has the grave ever been celebrated in such a way? With song and proclamation?
I can think of a couple of times. Though we don’t often recognize it as a celebration of a thing’s passing… but of the fruit its death bears.
Without Fall, there would be no Spring.
Without the expiration of leaves, the rotting of their membranes, the dropping of their seeds… new life could never form. It would be the end, the only end. The final end.
If we celebrate Spring, then we celebrate the death that brought it.
To get to the seeds of most fruits and vegetables, you must kill it.
The produce is cut from the vine, ending all flow of nutrients and life-giving forces. An incision to the center is carefully carved… to get to the heart of the fruit, where often the seeds for new life are stored. From that one death, comes multiple new lives.
Yet seeds alone are not the sole reason for celebration of a fruit or vegetables death.
The body itself becomes nutrient… live-giving sustenance. Building immunity. Fighting disease. Filling an empty tummy.
A death not wasted.
A death that would have no meaning had the life been spent fruitlessly. Selfishly. Fearfully.
But a gardener spends time with its future harvest… pruning, watering, weeding, de-bugging, feeding with good soil, securing the right kind of sun light… protecting, caring, clipping.
These equate to seasons of dryness, pain, refreshing, rest, growth, and trust.
Trust that the gardener knows what to trim away and when.
Trust that the strangling weeds will be noticed. Removed.
At just the right time.
Confession: This, too, I have learned from my dad. A master gardener. Watching his tender care of his garden. Cringing when so much beauty is stripped away… only to see double, triple, quadruple replace his wise and strategic snips.
To watch him allow painfully dry soil… roots seeking water deeper and deeper… to then lavish the thirsty plant with abundance. Leafy arms raised high, flowery faces turned up… swaying in a dance to their lover… the gardener who knows the whens and the hows and the whys.
And how my dad has tended to my own soul, spirit, mind, body in the same kind and purposeful way! Allowing me to learn lessons through death and tragedy, lack of understanding, impatience, frustration… only to meet me in those places with every life-giving breath. Sustenance and peace, direction and guidance. Love and affection.
I’m not an amazing gardener myself. I watch my dad. I watch my husband, his apprentice.
And suddenly life makes sense.
Oh that the garden of my life would be fruitful to the fullest! So that when my season of Spring turns to Summer and then to Fall… and the hills march to their tune of victory and praise once again… and Winter settles upon my existence in this place, on this side of eternity… that a new Spring would be welcomed in full song! That a great harvest would be found among the seeds of my life… a life not wasted.
Spent trusting the loving hand of my dad.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.