How perfect that Watertown’s new community garden is on land owned by a cemetery. That’s what I was thinking about as Dave Barnett, from Mt. Auburn Cemetery, spoke at today’s ribbon-cutting and celebration. The past and the future; those who came before us and those who will come after us; generations nourishing one another, breaking ground on behalf of those yet unborn. The circle of life is not a concept Disney created (although it’s hard to use that phrase without the song popping into one’s head).
I had the honor of leading a blessing of this new, beautiful, big community garden, where seedlings are already burrowing their roots into the good earth and friendships are already budding. Everyone assembled touched the ground in a gesture of blessing as I spoke. Here’s the blessing:
We give thanks for the past of this place — for all the life that came before us here: rainfall upon rainfall, snow upon snow, countless rays of light falling on small shoots and new leaves, light warming rocks, evaporating countless molecules of water. For passers-though, settlers, farmers, fox and possum, coyotes sniffing about, hunting, sleeping here.
We give thanks for present of this place — for all the life that is here now: for earthworms and ants teaming and burrowing below us, for seeds lovingly planted, drinking in the rain of the last week, bean poles excitedly waiting for beans, compost offering the past for the sake of the future; for people gathered today — young and old, native to this town and newly arrived, seasoned gardeners and neophytes to such toil, touching soil, sharing names and stories, beginning a new season for this place, beginning friendships, bringing what they have and taking what they need.
We give thanks for the future of this place — for all the life that will be here in the season ahead: for marigolds and marjoram; potatoes and parsley; snow peas and sage; tomatoes and thyme; for tall proud sunflowers reaching skyward, for moist lettuce snapped at its prime and celebrated in a salad; for food given to neighbors and nourishing those in need; for produce that produces community; for causal conversations that end up lasting a lifetime.
Blessed be this garden and all the life with which it is connected. Blessed be those who are not here who will benefit from it. Blessed be those whose elbow grease, stewardship and generosity made this day possible. Blessed are we who touch the earth and await the harvest.