Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Praying Against a Death Sentence

He stood, hand on shovel as I ran the garden rake across the ground, snagging on the long Alicia Bermuda runners that crisscross this old hay field turned backyard.

"I've never known one to live after it dry rooted."

He paused, thinking. "But you never know. How long ago did you dig it up?"

Thirty minutes.

As my daddy and I watered the tree in, watching air bubbles rise to the surface and foam atop the newly turned earth, I hoped thirty minutes wasn't too long.

I hadn't intended to dry root the spindly four foot magnolia tree. In fact, I had done everything to keep it from doing just that, spade piercing the earth in a complete 12 inch circle around its roots before putting shovel underneath like a lever to break the taproot.

One telltale pop, and when I lifted, all the soil fell away, loosened by last week's 2" rainfall.

So much for needing the white farm bucket.


Yesterday afternoon, my parents and I spent a few hours putting down roots. The plan was to plant the four roses that had come in the mail last weekend. But that required a plan for the flowerbeds out front.

Not really knowing what we were doing, my mother and I dragged water hoses out front, drawing bright yellow lines atop the cold ground with their flexible curves.

After planting the roses within the yellow barriers, we began selecting stones from a pallet full of large sandstone rocks. One by one, my parents, father-in-law, all three children (you knew they would want to play with rocks, too), and I set them on the ground. We had exactly enough (praise God) stones to follow the outline across the front of the house and around the north end in front of the lily bed we planted right before Christmas.

Although my husband thought me absolutely nuts several years ago, he now understands why I had him go ask for these free leftover stones after a subdivision completed its fantastic waterfall stone-wall entrance and had no more need of them. Once the stones were in place, we placed around the yard another volunteer cedar and maple tree, one unhappy-in-the-greenhouse chestnutt rose bush, and a Confederate Rose "twig".

Work done, my parents loaded up in their van to go home.

"I hope they'll grow," my mother said. "You should pray for them."Thinking of the death sentence my daddy had pronounced on the magnolia just a few hours before, I thought, "why not?"

I'd never prayed for plants to grow before, but really? Why not? What did I have to lose? And didn't the Bible say to pray about everything?

As the twins napped, Wyatt and I walked around the yard, laying our hands on each tree and rose, saying a prayer for the newly planted life.

Wyatt touched the stiff branches of the cedar. "God. Please help this tree to grow. Help it grow big and strong. Please God. Amen." If it grows, if the roses grow, if the magnolia grows--it won't be anything I did, that's for sure.

It will all be because of the Giver of Life. He will be the one who receives the whole glory.

(This musing about life in a winter-slumbering yard is my feeble attempt to join in with others at Seedlings in the Stone. L.L. Barkat has been inviting us to write from where we are about sense of place.)
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1 comment:

  1. I have a special talent for killing most of what I plant. But for some reason I keep planting. :)

    I guess I like the IDEA of growth. And the Grower.