Self Governed
Bev Vines-Haines
Dorsal Winner



I watch the garden through a thousand drops of Washington rain.  Every day.  All winter.  We’ve dumped piles of straw on it.  Straw and chicken poop.  It lays on top of the rich brown dirt and sometimes when I am falling asleep I try to imagine the little rivulets of poop soaking deep and deeper into the earth.

Finally the first bright rays of spring sunshine surprise us, we who live inside our homes or under umbrellas or splashing though puddles as we dash from cars to grocery stores, jobs or shopping. Washington requires a special breed of citizen.  It doesn’t so much take a village as it takes waterproof skin and a lot of true grit.

Once the sunshine breaks through none of these things matter.  Spring loves Washington State the way babies love mamas and pigs love mud.  It literally throws flowers at us.  Daffodils, tulips, rhododendron  and bursting azalea. 

For me, it’s mainly about the vegetables.  We can’t plant in early April like they do in the south.  We wait.  And then we wait some more.  Soil is supposed to reach 65 degrees it says on the seed packets.  Except that would take us well into June.  It does, however, need to dry.  A little. 

At last it’s time to till the soil, to turn all that straw and poop under, spinning nutrients and promise into pure black gold.  Even the birds stop flittering around as they perch on a branch to observe. 

We know it’s cheaper to buy this stuff in the grocery store.  Sometimes zucchini sells for forty-nine cents a pound.  But did you ever watch a zucchini grow?  First the plant builds a strong stalk and huge umbrella-like leaves.  And then, wonder of wonders, the blossoms appear.  Giant yellow flowers I want to gather into a crystal vase just to appreciate their beauty.  But no, that would mean sacrificing the fruit.  So I wait a little more.  Behind the flowers a magical little zucchini forms.  A mini-me of that shining green treasure we find in every produce section.  This is a miracle.  You watch, knowing this could happen anywhere, knowing it is sad anyone on earth is starving because this is just so easy.

Magnify the marvels as you watch the tomatoes and the corn, the peppers and the other squash plants.  Lettuce, Kale, broccoli. 

It seems people are always looking to find God in others or in situations.  In buildings or inventions.  I find Him every spring in my back yard.  His Word is fulfilled every time seeds and plants produce after their own kind and hold up their ancient promise to feed the world. 

First published: May 2018
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