Every year at about this time, I start stalking my garden. Each day, I wander out into my backyard and I inspect the plants. I bend down and look closely at each branch, looking for signs of life.
I'm looking for some indication that the plants have made it through the winter and that spring is coming.
This year, so far I've noticed that the garlic that we planted has begun to show, there are tiny sprouts of rhubarb leaved and the japanese maple that I moved from the front to the back yard, didn't die - something it was threatening to do in it's original spot, but I can see tiny leaves forming. And my favorite tree of all, the magnolia which stands outside my kitchen window is forming buds which will become the flowers that I wait for all year long.
Last night in her Ash Wednesday sermon, The Rev.Helen Dunn spoke about Emily Dickinson, whose poetry we are using as a Lenten Devotional this year (you can download it here) as someone who was a known recluse, spending much of her time going from her house to her garden and back again and learning much about God as she did.
I really identify with this. My garden is a place I feel very connected to God. It's a place I can get quiet, feel the dirt and my body and I tend something outside of myself.
It's a form of prayer for me.
This year my lenten practice is to practice praying. It's something I usually do all the time, but I haven't done much of it this year. I've been pretty lost inside myself.
So, I'm going to spend some time this season reminding myself of the importance of prayer and looking out and up.
I'm beginning each day with prayer and then I head out into my garden to see what signs of new life are waiting for me there.
What, if anything have you chosen as your Lenten practice?
I would love to hear.
Stay well my friends.