Even Cathedrals Have To Take Out the Trash

I was talking with some gardening friends last week, and the conversation turned to religion and spirituality. This particular group couldn’t be more different when it comes to personal faith and belief, but there was a common thread that seemed to resound with many of us.

We feel more in touch with our spirituality, faith and personal belief when we are in the garden. Our gardens are our personal cathedrals, where we feel our connection to something much larger than ourselves. That something may be different for each one of us, but our gardens are a place where we understand and feel that something more clearly.

There is a danger in elevating our gardens as such holy places. We can easily take them in an ethereal vein of fable, forgetting that they are also living, breathing ecosystems in need of our labor and attention. This is no more evident that during the changing of the seasons, as our gardens morph, shed and some parts simply melt into a slimy, desiccated mess.

Since we traded-in our Ranger pickup for a more fuel efficient vehicle, we rely heavily on our local municipal yard waste collection each spring and fall. In between, we still haven’t found an effective way to deal with the inevitable product of a summer’s worth of pruning, weeding and deadheading the garden. (Space prevents us from doing any significant composting.) This summer, an ever-growing stack of yard waste bags collected in the driveway, as if ignoring them would make them suddenly disappear.

Since our yard waste collection was scheduled for Thursday, I took the afternoon Wednesday to prep the pile for pickup. The thing about biodegradable yard waste bags is that they, well, degrade. Not a single bag in the pile retained its former utility, so the whole sloppy mess (yes, it rained this week) had to be scooped into new bags and hauled to the curb.

I don’t write this post to complain, but more as a reminder.

Even cathedrals have to take out the trash.

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