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Something there is about the soil and some seeds and some water. Something that makes things spring from the ground and grow. Something that has its roots in divinity, far beyond my poor efforts to understand.

I think that’s one of the reasons I find myself more interested in gardening as years go by — aside from the nicety of having fresh vegetables to eat and the satisfaction of honest labor that contributes to their presence on the table, there’s also a spiritual element to seeing things grow.

I’m no farmer: my “garden” could fit inside the average breakfast nook and includes only tomatoes in an old raised bed, squash in a new one I built this year, and peppers in what was a flower bed last summer. I planted half of an old sweet potato behind the tomatoes to see what would happen (it’s growing), and I transplanted something that sprouted in my mulch pile, just to see what it turns out to be (don’t know yet). I have an assortment of pots that contain late tomatoes from volunteer plants that spring up in strange places (I think birds have something to do with that), and a couple that I sprouted from suckers. I plan to have tomatoes right up until the first hard frost. My fig tree is behind the squash (it’s loaded).

Despite the small size of my agricultural endeavors, I’m reminded daily of the crying need for water if the plants are to grow, and the constant threat of creeping things that can kill a squash plant as quickly as Jonah lost the shade from his qiqayon vine.

A handy garden hose allows me to provide my few plants with sufficient water even in drought, but it also leads me to think about so many people around the world whose livelihoods depend entirely on whether it rains or not.

It’s no wonder that the ancient peoples around the world imagined weather gods like Marduk and Baal and Zeus; Indra and Illapa and Lono; Thor and Fryer and Gucumatz. From time beyond memory, prayers, sacrifices, and intricate fertility rites have been practiced to ensure the seasonal rains.

As long as I have a garden hose and a well, praying for rain is not an issue. If feeding my family depended entirely on timely rains, however, I suspect my knees would be getting as dirty as my hands.

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