Ivory Digits
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The Old Arbor and the Little Garden Patch
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“The Old Arbor and the Little Garden Patch” 

William M. Howard    December 1, 2009 revised July 22, 2012

The old arbor has been there for a long time.  We go to it and stand beneath it seeing all the twists and turns of the vines.  The broad leaves shade the spot.  They darken the place even though the sun is shining brightly.

The breeze whisks through taking away some of the fallen debris. The hard bricks below feel cool.
The old arbor is showing strain and bending.  A corner is weak and settling.   

Off to the side where the sun shines brightly is a little patch.  The sod has just been removed shaken out of the good earth.   The soil is turned.  It is dark and warm.  It begs for a seed.

The old arbor started out the same way.  It was once a warm patch of soil where a seed was planted.  It sprouted.  A trellis was built and an arbor formed to hold and support the spreading vine.

The new patch of ground is being tended by a child.  The parents have given their blessing and offer to help as they may.  The child is grateful.  She can plant some new things.  The parents guide her with what would be good to grow, how to plant, water and weed.  The initial work is done and the parents stand away to watch. 

The child is diligent tending everyday gently watering and taking away what does not belong.

The sun shines down on the moist, fertile earth.  Just one little sprout pokes up and with joy and excitement the child goes to her parents in celebration.  The parents smile in their own quiet way of celebration as they see two things growing.

The old arbor is still there.  It is an anchor.  They come back to it when it is a hot day or raining. It is shelter, a comfort and familiar.

Time passes.  The little patch is blooming with many new plants, different than the old arbor.  It won’t be long before a harvest comes. 

The child speaks of what to eat and how to prepare the new fruits.

The parents take from the old trellis a seed from the aging vine.  They place it into the open palm of her hand and ask her if she would plant it.  Dutiful, she makes a special spot, puts it in the earth, covers it and pats down gently like a parent putting a child to bed with kindness, comfort and love.  She asks for another seed, the parents comply and she makes a place for more.

The plants of the new and different rise up. This harvest will be a change from the past.

The new vine is reaching out crawling along the ground.  The child asks and the parents provide a trellis.  The child trains up the vine to grab on to the risers and cross bars. 

It is a new garden and a new vine.  The seeds from the past put into the soil of time, sprout a new growth, vigorous and vital. 
The parents watch over and guide.  The child listens intently to their words, fertile words, warm and rich. 

The vine continues to grow quickly and the little trellis needs more to support the weighty growth. 

This season continues.  The little trellis has turned into an arbor.

The family is fed by the annual plants. The leaves, stems and stalks have depleted for the season.    But, the vine continues to grow until it is time to rest and be dormant.  Well, dormant to our perception but the roots are active digging deeper and firming up. 

It may be several seasons before the new vine, from the old seeds, bear the fruit it is intended to provide.  The parents help manage the expectations of the child.  Patience is a virtue.

The church is an old arbor.  As children, we look to the parents to help us start a fresh garden patch.  We can not depend on the old vine completely.  It is time for a new planting and tending of the different seeds.  We will be fed in a different way.  The staples of old which could be depended upon for a long winter storage, gives way to year round gardens of vitality bearing constantly of lively tender plants.  It is a change.

There is the old vine which bears the seeds for the young vines. 

The Bible is the root of the old and new vine. 

The Bible provides the seeds for new growth. Who will tend? The children, the youth, will put the love, care and nurture of the Word on the trellis. The church is the garden. And we are the parents.






Ivory Digits
William M. Howard
10 Fish Ave.
PO Box 316
Jefferson, ME 04348-0316
(207) 214-7912

Copyright 2016 William M. Howard