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Friday, July 23, 2010

Are you taking care of something, steadily, repeatedly, regularly, and not sure why you are doing so?  Do you ever keep at something, despite having mediocre-to-no-good results? Tending my garden is like that for me. Sometimes tending my call is like that, too.

For the garden, I read the instructions on the seed packets.  I try to learn the sunny spots, the shady spots, the partially sunny spots, the dappled shade spots.  I try to manage the compost, the water drainage, the weeds, the non-native invasives, the mulch, and the slugs.

For my call, my good work in the world which is part of creating the kingdom of God here on earth, I pay attention; I listen for guidance. I go to groups of like-minded people for support, or learn from lectures and readings for inspiration.  I pray, and I work.

Often, it seems most of my effort is in vain.  In the garden, is anything beautiful growing?  With my call, is more good happening in the world?

I recently was inpsired by the gardens in Maine - such color!  all native plants! perennials! easy care! So I came back to tend our garden here with renewed vigor.  I trotted out to the most forlorn spot - over taken by crabgrass and other scary weeds that I can't figure out how to manage. slowly and steadily I worked... surely something good can come from all this effort, eh?  Lo and behold! There was an itty bitty "Sacred Datura" plant.  Do you know this plant?  It's a wonder.

It is vespertine, meaning it's a night-flowering plant, attracting the nector-seeking night creatures such as bats and moths, which is why I love it. It looks like a very large morning glory, but is more closely related to petunias and tomatoes than those morning vines.  It grows wild along the banks of the Potomac River here in VA; it's origins are from the tropics, where varieties of the plant are still used by the shamans of South America. 
Datura growing along Potomac River

TWO YEARS AGO I gathered some seeds from their prickly pods along the river, and lovingly planted them in what I thought was good soil. I tended them well, for two years, and got no results.  Alas - a regular expereince for me.  This year, I'd given up. And wouldn't you know it - there is the beautiful wonderplant Datura, growing strong, all on it's own.

Madeleine L'Engle said a little benign neglect is good for children, the garden, and the soul. This seems true in my garden. I am wondering if it is also true in tending my call. 

by Tiffany Montavon

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