Doing our level best

Purple on purple. There’s no better color combination, in my purple-loving mind! The pansies planted in the fall are a nice complement to the spring-blooming Ruby Giant crocus, which are decidedly NOT ruby-colored.

The Yard Boy spotted the first bloom, and so it seemed like it would be a good time to clean up that bed — for two reasons. First, It’s more fun to work in an area that is about to bust out in luscious color; and second, it’s a smart idea to have it tidied up before full blooms are in danger of damage by garden tools.

Of course, the ideal way to garden is to keep all the areas neat and weed-free, but that’s not the reality we deal with in our garden. There are too many tasks to get done, and I’m always a step (or twenty) behind.

The good news is that the blooming plants draw all the attention anyway; so maybe nobody will notice that the cannas need weeding when they are enjoying the daffodils in another spot.

The poor little pansies had weathered the cold winter fairly well, but a closer look revealed that their square little root balls had been heaved up out of the frozen ground. As part of the pre-springtime cleanup process, those exposed roots needed to be covered.

Digging them up and replanting them in a larger hole would be stressful to the brave little troupers. Instead, a little extra soil was spread up around them. This leveled out the bed and gave the fragile roots some protection against the cold. It also looked a lot nicer than having square chunks of dirt poking up here and there!

For that matter, there are quite a few places where the ground needs to be leveled off or raised up after the ravages of winter.

This would have been entirely understandable to John the Baptist if he cared at all about gardening. His job was to level out the surface – spiritually speaking — for the coming Christ. He prepared the way for Jesus and his message to come into the world. John came preaching repentance. Turning away from sin is a prerequisite to coming to God.

“And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God”’ (Luke 3:3- 6, NKJV).

John came at exactly the right time for God’s purposes. Maybe I’m cleaning out the old, wet leaves and smoothing the rough ways just in time for the spring bulbs, maybe not. But I wonder if we put off preparing our hearts at the right time.

Do we delay, like the farmer who thought he had time to sit back and enjoy life?

“‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19-21).

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