Sunday, July 12, 2015


by Cynthia Ruchti

Traveling across Wisconsin at this time of year is a stunning experience, especially when using full advantage of back roads. Tidy red barns and white farmhouses contrast against a background of ripening wheat, lush green carpets of alfalfa, and mixed hardwood and pine forests. A farm pond, river, or lake is never far from sight. Gardens seem to express their gratitude for the sun and rain of Wisconsin's short growing season by condensing their life-cycles into two or three months of jungle-paced growth.

Farmstands dot county road intersections and front yards. Some are unstaffed, relying on vegetable purchasers to deposit their payment in a lidded coffee can marked for the purpose. Those who purchase vegetables are apparently an especially trustworthy bunch.

Flowerbeds flourish in the unique mix of cool rainy days followed by hot and humid followed by clear nights followed by more rain. Start at any point in Wisconsin and travel to any other point mid-summer, and you'll be hard-pressed not to find something picturesque, charming, or verdant.

Even the ditches burst with color--chicory, lupine, wild irises, mustard.

The cucumbers are almost ready, even the ones I planted late because of business trips coinciding with planting days and home days coinciding with pouring rain. They started as seeds so lightweight, they'd blow away in the breeze if I didn't cup my palm while planting. Now, the bushes are full and hefty, taking over one of the raised beds.

It was with that backdrop in my mind that I read Psalm 97:11CEB: "Light is planted like seed for the righteous person; joy too for those who's heart is right."

I pictured the Gardener bent over us, raking His trowel across the soil of our hearts, depositing light seeds and joy seeds that in their early stages probably carry less weight than a radish seed and look anything but life-giving. He plants light within us, seeds that have the potential to produce a brilliant harvest with joy more abundant than zucchini in August!

Wisconsin's mid-summer wonder owes its beauty to rich soil, plentiful rains, a smattering of sunny days, wise and tireless farmers or gardeners, and a Creator who takes delight in variety and creativity.

That same God plants within His people light seeds and joy seeds. For life, work, family, friendships, ministry...

Is the soil of my heart a welcoming environment? Will light and joy thrive in this atmosphere? 

What am I doing--what are you doing--to tend what He plants and protect it from the elements?

The thought could occupy the whole trip from Janesville to Ashland or Green Bay to Hudson. 

From birth to harvest.


Terri Wangard said...

I love traveling to Green Lake. The area around Lake Winnebago is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Reminds me of the Robert Browning line, "God’s in His heaven—All’s right with the world!"