This winter is getting long…and has been much colder than most…this week in particular! I need to get my hands in some dirt soon. There is so much to get done this spring in my little yard in my little corner of Michigan but the tilling and toiling will have to wait a few more weeks. Winter still has a firm grip and is showing no signs of letting go. There is so much potential just under the surface, waiting to burst forth. I imagine the roots in the firmly frozen ground are as eager for spring as I am. Long months spent in cold isolation could turn any roots of hope into dreams that never come true.
There is a reason our bulbs or tubers or bare-root seedlings need special care when planting in the fall. I would tell my kids as they helped me in the fall that we were tucking them in their beds for the winter. We make sure we place them at the proper depth and provide a covering over the tender bare roots nearer the surface. We mark out where we have planted so we’ll remember in the spring and won’t go digging them up before they’ve had a chance to grow. When the warmer days come we clear their beds of old leaves and cut back last year’s stalks so the new shoots are not hindered. We gently stir up the soil around their new tender shoots to encourage needed water and air for the emerging roots. When we take the time to care for what we’ve planted so a rich harvest can be expected when the fall comes. While I am weary of winter, I know there are seeds planted and when the time comes I will, with great pleasure, till and toil the soil and expect great things.
There is another kind of soil we have been tilling for nearly twenty one years. We’ve got two great kids we have been tilling and sowing into. We’ve done our best to stir the soil of their souls and water their thirsty hearts. We have provided beds that are clear of harmful tangled memories so that they may stretch forth and reach for their dreams unfettered. They are just beginning to find their own row to hoe and I’m sure they will face difficult winters, wet springs, dry summers, and barren autumn harvests as they learn to prepare their own gardens. Our work is not done…we still have a bit more to do in their lives in different ways and at different times…working the soil of a soul is never done.