Every day presents new green things poking up in my garden and I am reminded of all my work in the Fall. It’s not yet warm enough that I have uncovered all the beds, and I am spending a lot of time staring at brown soil.
It’s a time of unknown, of anticipation of what is to come, and of dreaming of possibility.
During this period now between Passover and Shavuot, there’s a Jewish commandment of “counting the Omer.” This 49 day period between Passover and Shavuot is the time in between the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. At Sukkot we began including prayers for rain into the daily liturgy. Now, in springtime, having been nourished by the winter rains, the grains are ripening. Barley, with a shorter growing season, was good as animal food, and harvested beginning at Passover. Omer literally means “sheaf” and refers to the first offerings of grain Jews would bring to the Temple thanking G!d for the harvest.
A good wheat harvest, coming up at Shavuot, was still in the balance, and necessary to ensure a year of sustenance for the community. Thus continues a period of anticipation and unknown. A period of counting. Our subsistence farming ancestors didn’t know their ecological futures. Today, even with our phones, instant notifications and weather apps, we don’t always know what is coming next.
We are commanded to count the Omer every day. While I am not harvesting grains, I am assessing my garden daily. A morning walk into my backyard allows me to track the new sprouts. I am reminded of the miracle of germination as I count what has sprouted, amidst the empty rows full of promise. Mixed with feelings that I didn’t do a better job of recording what I did, I look forward to being surprised by what will be.
I am paying attention to the passage of the sun overhead, noticing it’s shifting angle on the horizon, and I count the increased hours of sunlight.
I notice the mud.
I list my upcoming projects.
What are you looking forward to during the garden season?
Wednesday April 7th from 7:00-8:00 p.m. we’re hosting an online forum on garden planning. Feel free to bring your plan, concerns, and experiences. We’ll met on zoom.