Without a doubt, ours is a culture in love with instant gratification. We want our fast food, our 24 hours news services, our Blackberries and iPhones. We want to have it all and have it now, right at our fingertips please. Waiting is not part of our plan. Something like farming and gardening that takes a long time to bear results has become nearly foreign, even suspicious, in our society. Last weekend, at The Community Farm at Chestnut Ridge, a group of ordinary folks did something radical, something without instant gratification; something for the long haul: we planted an orchard.
About 25 people gathered at The Community Farm at Chestnut Ridge to “till and keep” the soil. It was an eclectic group that participated in this first spring work day. Some were young, like the Volunteers for Youth teens, the camp staff children, the Duke Divinity School students; and some of us were older and grayer (and more sore the next day). We were friends, and strangers who became new friends. We worked together in small teams to plant ten fruit trees: peach, cherry, apple, plum, and apricot. We got muddy knees and dirty hands, and we transformed a field into an orchard. And maybe God transformed us a little too.
Planting fruit trees, like we did here last weekend, used to be a fairly ordinary commonplace event, but now it almost feels like a subversive, counter-culture act. It is an act of hope for the future, with little of what society would consider gain for today. There were several comments during the day about how small the trees are now. This isn’t a problem – it’s a gift from God! We have been given the opportunity to tend and care for something for the long haul, for future gardeners and campers to enjoy. It’s an opportunity to reap friendships and grow in love for the land and to sow good works in our community while we wait for the apples and peaches to be ready to eat.
Waiting isn’t often part of our plan, but it is part of God’s plan. It’s not going to take minutes, or hours, or even days, but years and plenty of grace to see and taste the results of our work. It will be worth it, just wait.