Jesus, when he rose from the grave, was mistaken for a gardener. It is my favorite story.
It is often when conditions seem the most damp and dark, when the rain has poured and patience runs thin, that green shoots of new life will begin to emerge. The seed that has died and been buried is the one that will emerge on the other side of decay in a multiplication of life.
I held the desiccated bundle of plant matter in my hand and looked up at my friend who had just given it to me. “What is it?” I asked, while turning it over to see bits of dirt still dried onto tendrils that seemed to have once been roots. Lyndon Penner, my dear friend who has written books about gardening in the harsh extremes of the Canadian prairies, looked down at the crispy mass and smiled. “It holds a secret,” he said, “it’s alive, and it’s my gift to you.” It sure didn’t look alive. I gave the stems a squeeze, and though it felt dead, no leaves crumbled—a hint that not all was as it seemed.
The is neither a rose nor from Jericho. It’s a type of clubmoss which, when faced with worsening conditions, will dry out, shrink down, detach from the soil, and roll up into a baseball-sized bale of brittle waste. It’s not green, and to my untrained eye, it is perfectly dead. While some call it a “stone plant” with good reason (it is sold in our local gem store), it’s also called “resurrection moss” because even after several years, it will reveal a secret. We gathered our girls around a little dish with water and set the brown tumbleweed inside. “Pour some water on top, too. Let it know it’s safe to wake up,” Lyndon suggested. Within hours it unfurled like a baby stretching for first breaths and turned a deep vibrant green. We were in …