Offering of Gratitude on Father’s Day

While working with my Native Spirit oracle deck today I pulled the “Offering” card, which suggested it’s a good time to give thanks to the many blessings in life. With a powerful full moon arising between now and tomorrow that seemed very apropos. I wasn’t sure what the offering would be. A generous square of cornbread has been sitting nearby which seemed like a nice gift. Somehow, though, it felt like something else was calling. After puttering around the garden the “aha!” occurred: I would take care of one my compost bins that has successfully turned into “black gold” since last year.

Nutrient-dense homemade compost

It seems that when I’m deep in a project, especially if it’s outdoors and involves sweating and a sense of accomplishment, that’s when my intuitive antennae is strongest. While heaving shovel loads of happy compost full of wriggling red worms into the wheelbarrow, the first person who came to mind was my paternal grandpa, Milford. He was a farmer who built his family’s little homestead and barn, grew fruit trees, raised animals, and dutifully tended to the land. I was up for no apparent reason at 4:00 am this morning, so I did qigong for an hour, but I reflected how he would’ve been up around that same hour, every day of the week, doing all the chores of a farmer, on top of his regular work at the timber mill, so he could provide for his large family. Due to being on the road through my early 20’s earning meagerly musician wages, I didn’t get to see my grandparents nearly as often as I wanted. When the gig schedule let up and I had enough gas money, I would go the family homestead where grandpa would give me tours of the farm and with much pride show me the apple and potato cellar he built, the creek he tapped into for irrigation, the trees he planted as saplings that were now mature fruit trees, and tell me how his faith really pulled him through some of his most challenging, personal times. I imagined that if he were standing nearby watching me create my hugelkulture raised beds with my homemade compost he would be very proud. This was my offering for him.

Then my maternal grandpa, James, came to mind. He died suddenly of heart failure at 52, working as a carpenter. He, too, built homes, drank coffee on hot days to help him break a sweat, and provided for a large family. When I was an infant, but old enough to sit up on my own, I have a distinct memory of being on the floor between his legs while he sat in his recliner, smoking his pipe. The smell of sweet cherry tobacco scent filled the air. A slender lamp stood near his chair. He leaned in and whispered “Grandpa loves you Gina”. The irony is that apparently I never met him. According to family, he died in Texas when I was two months old. Several intuitives have clearly seen and heard him while giving readings on me. They say, “Oh my gosh! He’s a real talker!” and each one perceives him as a dominant spirit guide through all my growing up years, maybe even till now. I don’t know if he gardened, but I have always wanted to learn to work with wood, maybe wood-burning pictures, and/or building small fairy and bird houses. All the wood-working tools are sitting in the garage awaiting my creative muse to kick in. Perhaps when the garden season slows down I will dive into this new field of creativity. I told him as much while hauling the compost around, and sent him heartfelt love for the inspiration.

Oregon Grape

My dad, who thankfully still lives, provided me musical genes, has been a faithful confidant/cheerleader during some of my greatest young-adulthood challenges, and is a fine balance between being an impeccable Virgo perfectionist and snarky, punny jokester. While he has gardening skills I imagine he would say my compost is disgusting, but having been raised on a farm would appreciate the necessity of keeping the soil healthy and balanced.

Hugelkultur raised bed feeding nutrients into the forest floor.

When we moved into our current home I wondered why there was so little topsoil to work with and way too much clay. Later I learned that in order to build a home they often remove the top soil, sell it to make money, then put a token amount on top to please the incoming home buyer. It’s been very difficult soil to work with so mastering the art of composting became a priority to help rebuild what humans have imbalanced. It has taken a lot of trial & error, moving the bin to different locations, and fighting to save the leaves the yard guys would normally run off with. It seemed ludicrous they should take all the prime composting material from my yard forcing me to buy it back from the store – in plastic bags nonetheless! LOL! The efforts and struggles have been worth it. My raised beds are now home to ferns that have magically found their way in, the compost is rich with nutrition that is slowly rebuilding a small section of a very starved forest floor, and if the Trillium flowers should find their way in, that would be the bestest gift of all! At any rate, tending to the soil was the offering that needed to be made today, in honor of Earth, the spirit of the land, and the plants and animals that thrive when we learn to live in balance with Nature.

Parched, nutritient-deprived forest floor.

To all the grandpas and dads out there who passed their wisdom, their experience, and their spirit to their offspring, thank you! This blog is an offering for you!

Happy heirloom roses.

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