Sunday Vespers

Part crossposted from the post @ my garden journal. Under the category of “things I learned in my garden” is somethiing I wrote back in 1999 when we went through the most horrendous drought I have lived through in the Ohio area.

I do have a theory on drought, my captive audience: I think periodic drought has a purpose in the lives of our gardens and in our own. If a plant has a decent root system, the dryness forces the roots to grow more deeply and strongly into the ground. So long as the plant survives the vicissitudes of this time, it emerges a better plant. Of course anything at all weak or the young must be attended to carefully, and if they can just be kept alive ’til the rain comes they should be fine. Details such as mulching and weeding make the difference for these plants. Drought also requires value judgements: if the tree is valuble and you cannot suffer losing it, share some precious water with it. Think a little and it is not too hard to apply some analogies to our relationships.

Droughts are periodical… whereas that was a particularly horrible drought year, this year is a bit too well-watered. Everything went silent then, out here in the country we usually have much birdsong and insect whirring, but then it was all eery silence… which I think happens at the extremes of stress and pressure, with a resigned quiet waiting for the relief that rests in the hands of a merciful God. The earth cracked open and told its tales of past trees and scars. Opened fissures in hoping for the rain which seemed promised in clouds. Clouds that cruelly moved on without the charity of even a drop. But eventually these times are over. Then come the rains, which the earth, and our souls drink up… sometimes until no more can be held and the overflow floods down in powerful riverlets of water.

It is but a season, in the sequence of seasons.

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