by Christine Baker

Louisiana’s summer harvest is in full swing. My counter tops, refrigerator drawers and cupboards attest to it. The old saying, “my cup overflows,” is true right now. The old traditions of self-sustaining live on through Louisiana generations. This all reminds me of something I read in the good book the other day. It goes something like this: “We reap what we sow.”

I have my husband to thank for this abundance. He is a sower of seeds. He collects them from the past and preserves them. Sometimes he purchases them from local stores. He has learned to keep them in a cool controlled climate, the only place this really exists in Louisiana’s hot humid summer is in a refrigerator. Long before the harvest is reality, his mind is on his seeds and the soil to put the seeds in. Seeds without good soil are useless.

I, on the other hand, am a sower of words. I work with words. Words are my life and yet sometimes I am at a loss for words, especially when dealing with explosive individuals. I guess life’s pretty much this way for all of us from time to time. We deal with other people’s anger sometimes more than we deal with our own. More than once I have left a situation with someone, replaying it over and over again in my mind, wondering what I should have said, but didn’t. This was the case recently, but then I remembered the garden.

I remembered how hard my husband had labored for the good that’s before our very eyes. Long before the seeds were put in the ground, when the soil had rested from the previous planting, it was obvious time and life had brought hindrances and weeds and it was in need of tending. He had cleared away as much as he could. Next, he had tilled the dirt making it as soft as silk, quite a laborious chore if ever there was one. The last steps before planting were the easiest. He had added back what mother nature and time had stolen, nutrients and/or fertilizer. All these steps were extremely important actions for good seeds to take hold and produce a good harvest. Yet, if he had decided to skip even just one, the end results might not have been what they were.

I suddenly realized I had not returned word for word because somewhere deep inside of me, maybe from past experiences or maybe from the good book, no spoken words would penetrate the hardness therein. This belligerent heart had not been tended to over the years. In place of a fertile, soft heart, there was an overgrowth of weeds, bitterness and contempt. Words sown to an untended heart are useless. The good book was right. We do reap what we sow, whether it’s a fertile soil ready for seeds, for vegetables and fruits or the words and actions produced from what is not tended to in our heart.

Louisiana’s summer harvest is still in full swing – an abundant harvest for those who have been willing to put forth the effort to ready the seeds, till the soil, and plant and wait patiently for a good result. You can check out your local farmer’s market for some Louisiana produce and while you’re enjoying the fruit of a Louisiana gardener’s labor, tend to the soil of your own heart. You won’t be sorry!

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