Worshiping in the Church of the Dog

March 8, 2006

The last few days, the winds coming from the south bring warmth to the frozen ground and finally – I can get get outside and work in my yard.

We live in a university town of about 30,000 and combined with the county our population is now over 100,000. The city is surrounded by farmland – mostly dairy farms and the crops devoted to supporting dairy cattle. Turkeys are also raised here and in the 1930’s this town claimed to the be the “turkey” capital of the world. I know spring is coming when the farmers start spreading turkey manure on the fields.

Although there will be many more frosty nights until early May – I am out in ny yard (~ half acre of perennials, trees, shrubs) raking up the debris of winter and amending the soil, and the ever present task of weeding.

The passage below is from a favorite book:
Church of the Dog

For me, gardening is a form of prayer. Most people have an awareness of life and death, but few have an awareness of life, death, and life again. Gardeners do though.

Bulbs come up every spring. Then in winter, it looks like there’s nothing there, no hope for life ever again. Then Hallelujah! Next spring they’re back even fuller. Perennials – same thing. Annuals have a slightly different lesson. Annuals really do die, but they broadcast seeds before they go. Where there was only one calendula the year before, there will be ten this year, and one day, they will fill every empty space in your garden. Annuals are a lesson in the difference that one living thing, plant, or person, can make, and how their presence resonates long after they’re gone. There again, the effects are not immediate. There is always winter.

And when you consider the garden as a whole, well, winter is a time to reflect, a time to dream. It gives you time to ask the big questions, like: Is there any reason my vegetable garden design should be so boring simply because it’s utilitarian? Then, when spring comes, maybe you plant your vegetables in a design that looks like a Celtic knot instead of sensible, uninspiring rows.

Gardening is an affirmation of divine timing. Some years, in early spring, my enthusiasm takes an ugly turn, and I seemingly believe I can make spring happen earlier than it normally would, if I just work hard enough, if I till enough, compost enough, harden off seedlings earlier than I normally would. In the end, I wind up with twelve flats of dead seedlings. Then I direct seed a couple months later, and with much less effort, everything grows into the full glory it was destined to encompass. To everything there is a season, Amen.

Weeding is therapeutic. For me it’s an exercise in getting rid of invasive, non-native thought patterns in the garden of my soul, you know, pulling up things that are taking over, things that aren’t working…making room for what I desire. Weeding is an exercise in the power of intention. I intend to grow sweet peas. So I do. First though, I make room for them. So as I weed, I think about all the things in my life that I intend to manifest and all the things I need to weed out to make room. Usually boils down to weeding out fear to make room for love.”

Kaya McLaren; Church of the Dog
I often tell my husband, Leave me alone, I am worshiping in the house of the church of the dog and he knows exactly where I am.


One comment

  1. I’m glad CHURCH OF THE DOG resonated with you! Thanks for spreading the word! Have you discovered ON THE DIVINITY OF SECOND CHANCES? It might be sold out, but Penguin is going to republish it and release those new copies sometime in the winter of 08/09. They’re going to rerelease CHURCH in the summer of 08. I want to rewrite parts of it first. Anyway, thanks for the nice press!

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