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” … where the clearest sign of grace is that from dung come flowers, from the bulbous sludge, buds and then sweet pears. The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty.”

ripe radish
It rained last night.  The ground is wet, the leaves sparkle with moisture, my bare feet sink lightly into the spongy earth.  A bit of blue sky shows, and the sun spreads itself up and out from behind the eastern clouds. The air is cool, fresh.

In this cool morning air, I take my coffee and go into the garden to see how it has fared.  Oh, the Garden!  Sweet surprise!  Only a week away, and I swear the tomato plants doubled in size.  Flowers abound and fruits are beginning to pull the plants into a sacred bow to the earth.  Broccoli heads are forming,  carrot tops are thickening, peas and beans form bushes instead of little mounds, and the zucchini leaves have tripled ingreen tomatoes size! The soil here is dark and fertile, and the rain and sun are working their magic on this little garden we planted (oh so hopefully) when it was still too cold and rainy and we were desperate for something spring-like.

Earth, and the vegetables offered up from the ground are healers of the best kind.   Already we are eating radishes and lettuce out of our garden – so flavorful and abundant!  Yesterday, I was in the kitchen chopping some other vegetables (obtained from the organic local co-op until ours are ready to harvest) and asked my husband to take out the container of scraps for the compost pile.  Moments later he came back in with a big ball of dark earthy matter.  “Hold out your hands,”  he said, and placed the ball of compost in my open palms.  The heat was strong, radiating from that ball of cooking compost right into my soul.

Truly, it is Magic!  Isn’t it amazing?  That you can take old scraps of veggies and coffee grounds and yard waste and grass clippings – add a bit of sun and rain and MAKE DIRT!  Dark, fertile, aromatic dirt from which to grow more food!  There is no waste, no garbage.  Everything gets used, reformed, transmuted, cycled through life and death.

There it was, right there in my hands.  An exquisite example of one of the greatest cycles of life.   From earth to kitchen to plate and back to earth again: energy simply changes form.   Death is but a trans-form-ation, movement from one form to another.   Life simply Is.  The ground’s generosity provides us over and over again with clear examples of these cycles.  Earth provides us with the evidence that there is no such thing as death.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and energy simply changes form.

Later today, I will go out into the garden and do some weeding and thinning and staking, tending to the magic that rises out of the rich dark soil here.  I will get my hands dirty and feel the grace in the garden, the generosity in the ground.  I will honor this life, and the gifts given, and I will be thankful for all that is here ~ all that has been, and all that will be.  And I will learn again the lesson of generosity.  I will remember to be more like the ground, and to give back better.

Amazing Grace indeed.

the ground's generosity
~ Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks

Remember: prayer gets accepted no matter how
impure: like that of

a woman in excessive menstruation, her asking dense
with blood, so your praise

is full of blood ties, full of how attached you are.
That tangle of limited

surrender is the human mire. We’re sodden in
bodiness, where the clearest sign of

grace is that from dung come flowers, from the bulbous
sludge, buds and then sweet

pears. The ground’s generosity takes in our
compost and grows beauty! Try to

be more like the ground. Give back better, as a rough
clod returns an ear of

corn, a tassel, a barley awn, this sleek handful of oats.