The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Monday, April 11, 2016

In Sure and Certain Hope of a Long-Lasting Rainstorm,
I Planted the Roses



Saturday brought the delivery of bare root roses from Edmunds'. The weather map looked ominous or optimistic, depending on one's point of view. I expected some rain on Saturday, maybe a big storm and definite rain on Sunday. The system developed but little rain fell until Monday morning. Some rain is still dripping off the eaves, where I have four barrels and one little trash can stationed. More is on the way.

The effect of rain and snow is unquestioned. God's Word does not speak of water having these results, but rain and snow. As one farmer said, "Water keeps my crops alive. Rain makes them grow and produce."

Like the rain and snow, God's Word

  1. Never returns void.
  2. Always accomplishes God's purpose, and 
  3. Always prospers His will.

A rainstorm has a powerful and unique influence on all life because it also brings down dissolved nitrogen compounds that are the basis for all life, the building block of proteins. Nitrogen in the air is useless for plants, but the vast supplies in the atmosphere are rendered useful by lightning. The lightning and thunder people often fear is the basis for their lawns and gardens greening up. I am sure statistics exist for how many tons of fertilizer fall from the sky during a rainstorm. One only has to look at a straw colored lawn turn green in August to realize its value.

In the soil, this fertilizer-rain wakes up all the microbes and miniature creatures. Although gardeners give due credit to the earthworms hatching and wiggling to life in the rain, the larger creatures really depend on the microbes. Bacteria travel on water and suspend life in drought. Protozoa and earthworms need bacterial and moisture, so everything is jumping and jiving at once.

All life depends on this water, and the increase of all living things (biomass) holds that water and the nutritious elements in the soil at the root zone. Last fall we made a pyramid of maple leaves under the crepe myrtle bush. Whenever more raking involved those leaves, which interlock and stay in place, the pile was supplemented. Now the leaves are all gone from under the bush, some doubtless blown away, but most of them turned into soil food by springtails, mites, and earthworms.

The root hairs of the roses - and all plants - barter for nutrition from the fungi, which grow fast in the rain. The plants offer the carbon the fungi cannot make for themselves. The fungi provide water and nutrition for the plants in exchange for the carbon credits, as demanded by the plants. All soil life engages in this Vanity Fair of swapping one thing for another, sometimes by barter, often by ingestion.

The bare root roses move from dormancy, truly asleep, to growing on its own, red-green leaves popping out of the stems and soon buds beginning to form. Then they are no longer wobbly in the soil but rooted and grounded.

I enjoy digging in the roses. More people should engage in gardening and see how God's Creation is designed, engineered to take care of itself (in a manner of speaking). All the creatures of the soil work together without a local supervisor and yet they thrive because of divine management, which we take for granted. The ancients begged their idols to give them fertility, because crops meant life or death for them. We trust smelly bags of NPK and forget the origin and the supervisor of this vast wealth in Creation.