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It’s not winter

A tiny peach

I don’t often think of so-called scripture. I identify as a creature of the Enlightenment, not as a “person of faith.” Nevertheless, I know an embarrassing amount of scripture, because it was beaten into me as a child and because Old and New Testament were required courses when I was a student. But lately I have been thinking of the 24th chapter of Matthew. In this chapter, Jesus is talking to his disciples about the End Times. It’s the chapter upon which much of evangelical eschatological theology is based. Verse 20 contains the words, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.”

How much scarier would this pandemic be if it had descended upon us at the beginning of winter, rather than at the beginning of one of the prettiest springs I can remember? Things hit the fan right at the beginning of gardening season.

Six years ago, we had made a valiant attempt here to build an irrigation system for the garden that drew water from one of the streams below the abbey. There is plenty of water just 500 yards down the road. That didn’t work, though, partly because we couldn’t find a pump with enough power to get the water up the hill. The water tank sat unused, overgrown with honeysuckle. It was possible to use well water for irrigation, but I’ve avoided that. Well water is pure and precious, and that water pump 305 feet down in the well won’t last forever. I don’t want to rush the day when the pump has to be replaced.

Then, two years ago, a new neighbor with lots of skills and energy worked out a means of getting water up the hill for his garden and for those neighbors who need it, including a neighbor who has a field of blueberries. It’s a heavy four-wheel trailer with tanks and pumps, pulled by his elderly Jeep. We moved our water tank to the side of the road so that the neighbor’s rig can stop in the road and deliver water. Problem solved! We also replaced the old drip lines. I’d swear that the cabbage plants grew an inch overnight after their first watering.

I’m determined to fight the insects, blights, squirrels, and raccoons to get as much out of the orchard as possible this year.

So I have one good thing to say about this pandemic. Its timing was perfect.

Week-old mustard

The water tank. The stream is down the hill at the bottom of the ridge.

The hydrant for irrigation water, gravity fed from the tank

Apple blossom


Carolina jasmine

The day lily bank


  1. Jo wrote:

    David, really enjoyed this post. Glad you are able to access water, without overtaxing your well pump. Reminded me of a time years ago spending time with friends in their mountain cabin in Arizona. Their water source was a storage tank shared with neighbors. I was also impressed by how they made use of rinse water from their clothes washer to irrigate rows in their garden.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  2. DCS wrote:

    Lord knows, I don’t regularly quote scripture, either. But I will do it this morning based on these beautiful, inspiring photos of the rebirth of Spring:

    Bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun.

    When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that don’t please you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is “fixed.”

    When you approach Me with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through. Walk in the Light with Me by practicing the discipline of thanksgiving.

    Psalm 116:17, John 1:7

    Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  3. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Jo: I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be a really good garden year. Gardening becomes much more serious during a pandemic!

    Hi DCS: Catholicism sticks with one, doesn’t it? 🙂

    Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  4. DCS wrote:

    You may or may not know, my mother was not only a devout Catholic but also a journalist. During the key phase of her career, she was a senior writer for the North Carolina Catholic newspaper. That was when it was still a real newspaper devoted to social justice issues.

    Her big claim to journalism fame: She got THE exclusive jailhouse interview with Velma Barfield before her execution. (Barfield’s, not my mother’s.)

    So yes, Catholicism sticks with one. 🙂


    Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
  5. DCS wrote:

    And just to give you an example of how this works…

    Here is a Psalm my mother sent by e-mail today:

    I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

    Psalm 40:1-3

    Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 12:14 am | Permalink

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