“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”Martin Luther (1483-1546), monk, priest, theology professor, composer, central figure in the Protestant Reformation
I have heard Luther’s words in hymns and I always wondered if that was a wise course of action. Wouldn’t my energy be necessary elsewhere? Shouldn’t I be contacting and connecting with loved ones? Would I need to be busy getting things in order?
With the current crisis sparked by Covid-19, like many others, my family of five is social distancing. My son is officially laid off from his job as a mechanic. I will be working at home for at least two weeks and others in my home will receive some pay for that time period.
We are fortunate to have enough. Even in good times I keep a good amount of food and cleaning supplies on hand. Although I normally keep careful watch on prices, this week I managed to find items we really needed at higher prices. I bought sensible amounts and I didn’t care about the cost so much. It gave me some comfort knowing that the hardworking people who will be ensuring our supply chain including farmers, truckers, retails workers and others, will get some added economic benefit from their extra work in difficult circumstances.
Like many others, I have been glued to social media for the past few days. I have been impacted by the general mood there. By contrast, I have been following some pretty positive gardeners in Twitter since December. In addition to those in Canada, many live in the UK and the US. What I have noticed without fail is their optimism. Spring is here and despite what is happening in the world around them, they are living responsibly, walking in their gardens and capturing and sharing beautiful photos of the life around them to uplift others. Many gardeners are preparing by planting vegetable and flower seeds at home.
Once I had jumped through the maze of technology in getting my home workspace set up and had communications with my extended family (all thankfully, safe and managing well) my thoughts turned to spring too. Today, I have limited my use of social media channels to positive outlets and turned my energy to small acts of hope.
- Later tonight I will be social painting on a Facebook Live stream. Over 2.3K people have signed up already. A friend has also signed up and we are planning to share photos of our work after the event. I am hoping that it will be a garden or flower theme.
- I decided it was time to plant my tomato plants and some garden flowers. Thankfully I reuse containers and keep a good supply of soil in the garage and I had already purchased some seeds.
- I am going to start a “tiny terrarium kit” that one of my children bought for me. I discovered on a recent greenhouse trip that even prickly things can be a source of beauty.
- I will be planting the bonsai kit that my daughter brought back for me on a recent trip with her new fiancé. She was to visit him in a couple of weeks but like many others, that flight is now cancelled. I have encouraged my daughter to start painting the pillars that will hold decorations at her wedding reception in the new year.
I encourage you to practice daily acts of hope too. If gardening isn’t your thing, there are many unique opportunities to enjoy including events such as online concerts and virtual museum tours as well as the opportunity to spend extra time with children and pets and to check in with family, even if that is online or by phone. Experiencing new things and finding ways to help and encourage others may lead to new ways of life not just in the present, but in the future.
So yes, Martin Luther, I understand now. I will plant a tree today as an act of hope. Seeds contain the promise of new life.
Take care my friends. I need to go now, the earth for the seeds is ready to be planted.