California is for preachers. And gardeners.

For the last couple of years I have been a participant in a Toronto Micah Group, which is a program of Fuller Theological Seminary in California that aims to form “empowered, wise preachers who seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, leading others to join God’s mission in the world.” This week I went to California and met a whole bunch of others doing the same thing. There were some cool people there.

Alas, I am an introvert and a tired one at that. So before I was ready to dive in to the program, I took an early morning walk. I left my room at first light (just before 7am) and headed out into quiet, deserted streets. In Ontario fall is in full swing, but in Pasadena it smelled like a warm summer morning. I breathed deeply and enjoyed the gardens full of things we can only buy in flowers shops, like the huge bed of Birds of Paradise.085

I passed a short hedge and noted in my head that it seemed a bit ragged….and then realized that it was actually an entire hedge of rosemary! I stopped and rubbed my hands in it and breathed it in (I also hoped that no one was watching the crazy lady fawning over a bush). I sighed a wistful sigh. It’s my favourite herb and I only grow a little pot of it at home.

A cup of hot tea in a little cafe made my morning even more luxurious, and meant I was ready for a day of important work like learning, meeting new friends and taking pictures of tattoos.089

When I met Aaron I said, “I don’t like tattoos. But I love yours. Can I take a picture of it?” and I am so glad he didn’t mind. Because we got talking and I discovered we had gardens in common. Front yard gardens, even!

Yes, Aaron has an amazing front yard where he has even grown a crop of wheat (he and his kids did the threshing in a plastic kiddie pool!). He called it edible landscaping and showed me some great pictures on his phone. I showed him my garden (I think other people might show off pictures of their kids?) and told him about the bylaw officers who visited me when my front yard garden was first installed.

wheat garden

Best of all, we talked about composting. I asked if he had a worm composter and he asked me if I was sure I wanted to hear about it while a group of us were still eating breakfast. Sure, I said bravely….and then heard how he used to have worms but now has maggots instead. Yes, black soldier fly maggot composting in actually a thing. A gross thing, but also pretty effective, according to my new friend. They even dispose of meat and dairy products, and do it so fast there isn’t even a bad smell left behind. Wow.

I know it sounds like I didn’t actually do any real work while I was in California (I did, I promise. We talked about preaching justice, finding courage, launching our new 2015 groups and all manner of relevant topics.) But sometimes the moments you remember most are not the main thing, but the moments that surround the main thing.

So having begun this conference on Thanksgiving Monday, I am grateful for those not-quite-the-main-thing moments like rosemary hedges and front yard gardeners. I’m even glad I heard about maggots. Thanks, California. I had a good time.   090

 

 

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4 Responses to California is for preachers. And gardeners.

  1. You don’t like tattoos?

  2. Anne says:

    I love this post! And I love Aaron’s tattoo too! (Wonder what Julian of Norwich would think?) Sounds like a happy trip – you sound so content.

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