First Signs

It is February 16th ten years after the turn in millenniums. I live in Northern California where we have what my seminary professors called a Mediterranean climate – we live in basicaly the same kind of weather as the people we read of in Matthew, Luke, Mark & John. 

This morning, the day before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lenten fasting I went out to my garden where the seeds I tucked in a few months ago are starting to sprout.


In the back are some peas, in the middle are beets & turnups (If I'm remembering correctly) and in front are carrots. 

If I didn't have a supermarket or a farm stand just down the street (or anywhere) I'd probably be staring at these new shoots with the intensity of near-starvation. 

It will be at least another two months before the carrots are ready for harvest.  

Of course, if I didn't have a grocery store down the street I'd be managing my garden much more intensely and storing more of the harvest from last fall. But I do have a grocery store which brings the food of the world all over, oranges and wheat and lamb from other lands far away from me and the fragile web of moving goods from faraway lands to within a five minute walk remains whole today. 

So instead I look at the carrots with a curiosity and with an intention toward spiritual practice. I am curious about how they will grow, about what is going on underground that I can't see. I am curious about how the birds who visit my garden will share this plant with me and if I need to defend the carrots from the birds or the worms or the bugs or something. I am not anxious about harvest because I don't need the harvest. 

My spiritual intent is to wonder about how life chooses to live, about waiting for harvest, about fasting when there is no choice, about the promise of first signs and the awareness that first signs are fragile. 

Speaking of fragile, I found this scattered across the front lawn when I went to get the morning paper.


I would not see them except that they held tiny spheres of morning dew that broadcast their shape and form in the midst of green. These webs are food gathering tools for the spinners – and also water collecting perhaps. I don't really know. I thought them beautiful and wondered again about a God who creates beauty in such utilitarian and nearly invisible things.  

Please click on the image to see it close up:


From ashes we have come and to ashes we will return and what comes next after that belongs to God but here are some first signs appearing from invisibility in my garden and in my front lawn. 

Where is your hunger? 

Where are your first signs? 

Where is God whispering Beauty, Beauty to you?