On Valentine's Day, I took a little excursion in the hardware store past the seeds and onion sets. I think my heart was longing to grow flowers and start something in the garden that is late-winter hardy.
One unusually warm afternoon in February I went to turn over the soil in last year's raised bed and amend it with my bunny's droppings. As I did this, I started contemplating all the hard and tough stories I have heard this winter. Some people have had some really "King Manure" times and have ended up in my office because of the effect on their health. On the farm, we have had our own losses and challenges this winter. Manure, at that moment in the garden, became an analogy and a healing reminder for me.
Yes, there are a lot of tough, manure moments that can happen. But, manure has the potential to do good, too. Carefully folded into soil and if properly aged, it can sprout new life and growth. I've seen this in life where a devastating illness brings gifts to people they never imagined. There have been the cancer patients who find remission and the best health they have ever had in their adult life.
Manure, too, has the ability to burn up life in the garden if it is the wrong type or not properly aged. I see this sometimes, too, in life. The manure moments are so hot and painful that people never really get past them.
That afternoon, I pulled out the odd bits of old grass and roots and folded in my bunny manure. My heart lightened a little that afternoon as I remembered that these manure moments can have potential...no guarantees, but they have potential. I nestled my onion starts into the soil and tucked them to bed with straw.