Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening
1999, William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids MI
I'd started reading this book last year but had put it aside. Then, I threw it in the bag with a few other books as I went on a trip to El Salvador, to finish it up, as I was going to try to use the getaway to get caught up on my reading.
In short: the author sees the correlation of gardening to the relationship between humanity, the earth, and God. He is very devout, but in a sincere way, and I do believe that even the staunchest atheist will grant him the poetic license of seeing the divine in the act of bringing flowers and vegetables to life from the earth.
In the book, he goes through the seasons, he grows through life and the ever-approaching arch toward the day when we will no longer be on this earth, but hopefully will have left some beauty behind.
As a follower of Christ, I rather appreciated his relationship to Eden, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the attempt to reclaim some of that harmony. I also appreciated his respect for his Armenian Christian heritage, and his quoting and translation of many of the standard hymns.
Warning to the Protestants, however: you may find he is a trifle too "Marian" for Protestant tastes, but if you can get past that, you will have an enjoyable, gentle, comforting read.
Several phrases which caught my attention are as follows:
p.3 "So when I plant in spring I also hope to taste of God in fruit of summer sun and sight of feathered friends."
p.21 "For the gardener the first signs of spring are an irresistible invitation to make the earth a paradise once more."
p.24 "The flower of repentance, however, grows only in the soil which has been enriched by the death of the old self that we have let die in it."