“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
Our small backyard garden, lost in the cement jungle of this city, shows all the signs of the end of the season. Withered beanstalks wait to be turned over, weeds pop up between the old rows, and vines of snap peas yellow, dust returning to dust. Even the tomatoes and the peppers are showing signs that summer will not, thank God, last forever.
It’s amazing to think that, somehow, the rich brown soil, once clear and holding seeds of promise, is now spent for another year. Winter will take it all back as we bury our compost in the dead earth. Spring will return it to us again, offer her gentle arms and wispy rains and then seedlings will, so improbably, unfurl into summer again, green and hot, the seasons always folding over each other like waves on the shoreline.
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What seeds are being planted in my soul this very moment, at five in the morning on a Tuesday, with music playing quietly and five children sleeping in the rooms above my head? I can hear Maile’s footsteps, more seeds planted by this morning. Soon the sun will rise above the buildings lining James Street. What is being planted in me this moment? This moment? What about this moment?
What cosmic messages, what prophetic visions, what desires, what boredom, what dreams? What hope, what bitterness, what patience laid bare in the turned up furrows of my soul, folded over?
This moment? This one?
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August came and went this year like a wave of heat rising off the pavement. Came and went. What are these days, these months, these years, if not vapor? What are these mornings, if not moments planting seeds in me? Quicker than the sunrise, 2016 will be here, a year I’ve not contemplated in my mind until this moment. 2016? How can it be that I live in some futuristic movie?
I look ahead less than I used to. Each day holds enough for my mind to consider. Each day with its moments. The years ahead are gossamer threads heavy with due. Heavy with moments.
Next year I turn 40. My grandmother turned 40 in 1973, three years before I was born. My father turned 40 the year I turned 20, the year before I met Maile.
These heavy stones drop in deep water with a resounding !thunk!, and the ripples go all the way, stirring the shallows.
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What are these moments planting in your soul?