My finger furrows rows in the soil for kale, spinach, and lettuce seeds. The grass is high and needs to be cut, but only a couple more times because the weather is getting cooler. It is my favorite feeling when the temperature begins to change from hot to cold, a migration that we feel every year, but feeling the earth’s weight shift away from the sun is like a new experience every time.

The seeds find their spots in the trenches, and I cover them up and press down the soil with my knuckles. They were made for this moment. Never once did they wonder where they would rest their heads and stretch out their legs. Today, in between the rays of light and currents of summer giving way to fall, they find home.

Often when I am in the garden, I think about the future: the people I love and our proximity, where my feet will land next, work I must tackle, music and stories I will write, and all the knowledge there is still to know. Being alone in the garden gets overwhelming sometimes because I get so caught up in the future, and as a result, I listen to podcasts while I work. If I am thinking about the future, I might as well be learning about it: how to love well, how to be a better communicator, how to steward money and resources better, how to build a business, how to…

I almost stepped on the ladybug because the grass was high, but today I was not preoccupied with a podcast in my ears. The breeze caught my eyes as it swept the grass, and I saw the little garden protector, a few feet from my boots. When I saw the orange round spot in the sea of green, I felt a stillness rise up in my chest and say to me: 

“Take care of the present.” 

Aphids like to leech themselves on the lima bean stems and the okra blossoms until they are a black mass, which brings a traffic of ants on top to share in the aphids’ sugar spoils. I spray them down with soapy water, and it can get frustrating to do it over and over. And then there is the weeding to do in the strawberry bed and restoring the herb garden, planting fruit trees in the new plot of land, and setting up a greenhouse for seedlings. The list never ends, and I get overwhelmed. 

And that is when I feel like I need another podcast. 

But the seeds that I planted choose to say where they are. None of them pop up out of their beds and yell, “I quit,” because of potential danger or a shorter life expectancy. They settle into where they fall, and they trust the gardener who sowed them. 

Ladybugs prey on aphids; one adult can eat around fifty aphids a day. Where there is a mass community of the little sap suckers, the fiery predators somehow know the plants are in need of aid. 

“Take care of the present.” 

God has created everything–literally everything that exists–to function together in one ecosystem. The earth is tilted slightly away from the sun, and I plant cool weather vegetables, and the grass grows high because it knows it will pause for winter, and the aphids pile up to get their fill of the sugar that runs up and down the plants that build their cellular towers, and the ladybugs fly in because they feel the change in the wind and know aphids are feasting one last time on the garden that I am growing in the changing of the light. 

Like the seeds that I sowed, God knows what I need and will never fail to care for me and help me grow. Because I was made to grow. Not through striving, but trying and trying again, and putting down the podcasts so that I can listen to my heartbeat, what my heart beats for. I start to notice things about myself and my world that can only be seen when I put down the binoculars. In taking care of the present, I begin to drink; the water flows beside me every day from the river–”Protect your heart, for from it flows living springs”–the words of the Gardener, who shows up every day to care for me and makes sure I grow, so that I do not have to pay attention to the worry that gets caught up in the wind. Wind picks up any voice that is heard, and it searches for vacant ears. 

I fill my ears with God and take care of the present. 

He loves when we feast on his presence, when we love what has been set before us. The soil has been prepared, and rows have been filled. I am not barren, though worry may see the surface and say, “You’re done growing; you’re going to die.” The goal is no longer the harvest. The focus is no longer on gaining. My eyes choose to love again all that is present. The aphids cannot quench this love, and ladybugs are not my only hope; they remind me that the seeds God plants within me, every word he speaks over me–whether I hear it or not–will withstand all that changes and every voice in the wind. These seeds will become abundantly mature and produce a harvest that goes on generation after generation because they give in to the present and trust the Gardener who sowed them.