Deep in the Earth

In an effort to follow my own Michaelmas advice, H and I spent several long hours planting bulbs last weekend. It was hard, grunt work as our soil is rocky and needed extra attention. Planting bulbs has always been a very satisfying experience for the children--the image of life emerging after such a long, dark time underground is an important one. Perhaps this is why they have read and read The Story of the Root Children.

As we worked in the heat and dirt, I wondered what was going on in H's head as she seemed very satisfied and happy. She wanted to hollow out a tree stump and plant some bulbs in it. I told her that it probably wouldn't be warm enough and we might actually kill them by doing that. Silence.

Then she said, "We humans kill a lot don't we?" The conversation continued as we dug away and she came to, "Well, it's never OK to kill, but it's OK to die for something." We talked a bit more until we once again became immersed in our work. I think the conversation rested as deep inside her as the bulbs were deep among the dirt and leaves.

She's grown a bit beyond "The Root Children," but the work and the bulbs still did their magic.


THE CROCUS
Harriet Beecher Stowe

Beneath the sunny autumn sky,
With gold leaves dropping round,
We sought, my little friend and I,
The consecrated ground,
Where, calm beneath the holy cross,
O'ershadowed by sweet skies,
Sleeps tranquilly that youthful form,
Those blue unclouded eyes.

Around the soft, green swelling mound
We scooped the earth away,
And buried deep the crocus-bulbs
Against a coming day.
"These roots are dry, and brown, and sere;
Why plant them here?" he said,
"To leave them, all the winter long,
So desolate and dead."

"Dear child, within each sere dead form
There sleeps a living flower,
And angel-like it shall arise
In spring's returning hour."
Ah, deeper down cold, dark, and chill
We buried our heart's flower,
But angel-like shall he arise
In spring's immortal hour.

In blue and yellow from its grave
Springs up the crocus fair,
And God shall raise those bright blue eyes,
Those sunny waves of hair.
Not for a fading summer's morn,
Not for a fleeting hour,
But for an endless age of bliss,
Shall rise our heart's dear flower

Susan  – (October 10, 2007 at 8:51 PM)  

Sarah, this post really touched me. I had never read "The Crocus" before; it's a beautiful poem. For years now I've been wanting to plant spring flower bulbs. And then the autumn passes by, and I think, "Next year. Next year I will definitely do it." Your post made me think of so many things, but most of all that my children are growing up, and the time for planting seeds is now.
Thank you for sharing your beauriful thoughts.

~Susan

julia  – (October 12, 2007 at 3:34 PM)  

Sarah,
we had that book when we grew up, and it must be somewhere with the things I left in Germany.
Thank you very much for sharing that, it made some quiet memories come back to life.

kristin  – (October 21, 2007 at 7:47 AM)  

thanks for sharing The Crocus poem...it's lovely and a great match to this post about planting bulbs. i'm happy that simmy directed me to your blog.

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