Yesterday morning as I was out on my early run I was listening to the podcast of On Being with Krista Tippett. She was interviewing Orthodox Christian theologian Vigen Guroian in a segment called Restoring the Senses: Gardening and Orthodox Easter.
I thought it was a brilliant interview all the way through. But I was particularly moved at the end of the piece when she quoted an excerpt from his book The Fragrance of God.
“Several summers ago my children found two turtles and put them in the vegetable garden. During a thaw the next February, as I was digging up the soggy soil where the peas go, I lifted a heavy mound with my shovel, and then another. The two turtles had burrowed down for winter sleep, and I had rudely awakened them too soon. So I carried them to a corner of the garden where I would not disturb them and dug them in again. When my wife said that she feared the turtles might be dead, I said I did not think so (though I wasn’t as sure as I sounded). I insisted that in spring they would come up. And they did in Easter week.
Lilies and hyacinths signify the resurrection, and I can understand why. But I have a pair of turtles that plant themselves in my garden each fall like two gigantic seeds and rise on Easter with earthen crowns upon their humbled heads. With the women at the tomb, I marvel. For “Christ did arise, Christ did awaken/Out of the virgin tomb, out of the tomb of light” (Armenian Ode for Ordinary Sundays). And he leads us back, back into the garden of delight.” The Fragrance of God by Vigen Guroian