Down the Garden Path

Lent 2012
Path of  Restoration

by Marjorie George

Is it going to freeze again (or maybe, ever again)? I ask myself that question while surveying my backyard and planning for the annual spring makeover, 2012 edition. Is it safe to start putting plants into the ground? The TV weathermen are hedging.

Even as I implore Mother Spring – who continues to toy with us — to reveal her plans, I know that this year is different. This year there will be no hydrangeas; no orchids; no delicate, frilly, does-well-in-zone-5 (that would be Connecticut) plants. I am throwing in the trowel. After the decimating drought of the last several summers, my backyard is going native Texan – columbine, Turk’s cap, and Mexican bush sage will own the day.

This idea is not original to me: on the air and in magazines and newspapers, I am hearing and reading that it’s becoming smart to go back to our roots, so to speak. “Plant Native” is the rallying cry.  Needs continual watering? Gotta go. Can’t stand 106 degrees for three weeks straight? Outta here. Doesn’t embrace the searing afternoon sun, facing west? Nope.

I see now that my backyard was not happy being forced into something it was never intended to be. No amount of pushing that round root ball into a square hole in the ground worked. I actually broke laws trying, sneaking water when no one was looking. Still the plants shriveled.

And just so, our souls are shriveling as we force them to accept what is so anathema to them. I’ve learned that plants that are not native to an area are called “exotics.” Such an alluring word; we mean it as “attractively out of the ordinary.” Its first meaning, however, is “originating in or characteristic of a foreign country.”  In how many ways do I push my soul to live a tortured existence apart from its place of origin?

I don’t even have to hire geologists and archeologists to find my birthplace; it’s there in Genesis 1, right up front: “So God created humankind in his image; in the image of God he created them” (1:27). And then he said, “Wow, that’s really good!”

And we, because we think ourselves so very wise and clever, sought to improve on the basic model. But here’s the thing: in our bumbling and stumbling and climbing over each other and renaming our needs, we moved away from God’s desires for us. And I don’t much like it here in this foreign land. I’ve been trying to live in places and in ways God never intended, and it’s not so good any longer.

Our ReflectionsOnline series for Lent 2012 will explore the path of restoration – how do we get back to that “good” in which God created us? How can we once again become those who were created in the image of God? What obstacles must we overcome, and what gifts has God provided us with to make the journey? How do we look at the soil of our lives and rid ourselves of those exotics that have crept in and are masquerading as native?

Several writers from across the diocese will contribute to our Lenten online reflections and provide us with some guidance — some sunshine and some rain, perhaps a little compost – for the journey. We hope you will add your thoughts and comments as more fodder for all of us. Our reflections begin on Ash Wednesday, February 22.

You can receive our online reflections in your e-mail inbox by subscribing in the box on the right. And please invite others to join us.

Marjorie George

Marjorie George is editor of ReflectionsOnline and Reflections magazine, published by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Reach Marjorie at or comment below.

Art: “Pensive” by E. Gordon West.  West is one of several artists from around the Diocese of West Texas whose work is part of a special exhibit, “Lent through the Eyes of the Artist,” that will hang at Cathedral House Gallery at the Bishop Jones Center in San Antonio until mid-April. The opening wine-and-cheese reception is Sunday, Feb 26, 4 to 6 p.m. The public is invited free of charge.

Of this piece, West says, “Lent is a time of reflection. This piece depicts a single individual in a relaxed position gazing out to a glorious sunset.  He has to be filled with the wonderment of God’s creations.”

The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The address is 111 Torcido, San Antonio TX 78209. For more information, contact Marjorie George at or 210-857-5387.





One thought on “Down the Garden Path”

  1. Lovely meditation. I read it as I looked outside to the seeds I planted in the fall in hopes that they will bloom in the spring. Yet, knowing that we do live in south Texas. 🙂

Comments are closed.