The First Fruits of my Garden

Near the Pier, Huntington Beach, California. Photo by Laurie Welch.

We’ve had several days of heat after this long cool winter. I am not sure what Spring will look like this year if we just go from winter into summer. But suddenly, we have peeled off hats and gloves and fleecy coats and are now bare-legged as we look toward the sun. I think this is a rite of Spring in California—the day you shed your thick clothes and break out the shorts and sandals—in one day winter is over!

It is also amazing to look around and realize Nature is doing just the opposite—She is busy adding clothes to her barren trees and flower-bearing bushes. And vegetable gardeners are seeing lots of movement in the ground as the energy of new life manifests through shoots and buds poking about the dirt. Celebrating this life-brimming time is also to be grateful to be alive to see another season. Happy Spring!

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Radishes usually come first—radishes—small, round, and red. When I take them from the ground into which I had placed only seeds, and tie them in small bundles, I quite understand why those other gardeners had to give their first fruits to God. It is impossible to use one’s first radishes and lettuce and beans merely for food. Later in the season the wonder of these growing things may lessen, but on that first day a garden is a miracle, and something of it must be given to God. I envy those ancient farmers. I wish that I, too, might find some high altar whereon I might make my offering to the God of Gardens.

And yet, I have neighbors who like early vegetables. Very early in the morning, while the morning-glories are yet on the fences, I make bundles of red and green. I call over a backyard fence and lift high my offering, and the gods accept my sacrifice.

There is something that celebrates itself within me in The Day of the First Fruits of My Garden. It is a song of joy for created things—joy that a seed planted in the ground will bring forth its fruit in its season; that a dream entrusted to the soil of a human heart will bring forth its harvest of an hundred fold.
~Abbie Graham, Ceremonials of Common Days, 1923

Who Left the Sun Inside this Book?

Have you ever found something extraordinary or intriguing tucked inside the pages of a book?

I have found grocery lists for elaborate meals and medical appointment cards forgotten as bookmarks in the public library. In the university library I have come across notes taken for classes or lists of books for term papers, which always brings a familiar pain; all that time and research for nothing.

Once I found a tirade detailing the transgressions the letter writer felt someone committed against her. After reading a few embarrassing lines I stuck it back in the book. Yikes!

My greatest find was also a picture stuck between the pages of a book I picked up in a university library:


Incredible detail and technique! But what was the inspiration? Boredom? Soothing nerves before a midterm? Or just the desire to create? The medium is black ink on a napkin: restaurant, coffee house, bar? And why was it left? Using the napkin as a place-holder while studying and forgetting about it? Or, shoved inside and left on purpose? A frustrating mystery.

But here is the bigger mystery: This is my symbol. I have been collecting, imagining, wearing and enjoying sun and moon images for decades.

Sometimes I like them together:



And sometimes I like them alone:


This crescent I wear almost every day:


I consider myself mostly a moon person, as I love the night and darkness. When the crescent moon appears each month it is a joy to see and acknowledge. The crescent is an expectant symbol of newness, promise and hope.

I found the napkin in 2002 and have moved house several times, each time making sure to take it with me. All this time it has had a prominent place on my altar:


O Unknown Artist…I thank you!

What have you found stuck in a book?