Gardening can make you think of health. Every spring the perennials come back, but sometimes a few of them don’t make it. And it’s hard to know why—the soil was too compact, the roots were eaten by some animal, the salt from the snowplows did them in. But those that do survive never seem to fail in perfection. They are hauntingly beautiful which is why they were created in the first place. Flowers and birds lead the soul to God. They speak of something beyond the weight and clumsiness of the human body. It’s how they can ride on the wind, even the flowers that are rooted to the earth as we are have an ethereal quality about them that no human possesses. And birds are like souls that hover in the trees outside my window. The cardinal against the so pale green grass and just beginning trees has to be something of my father’s soul reminding me to remember him, to hold him in my heart as the day wears along. Because the brightness of the cardinal’s feathers is inexplicably beautiful, like the spirit within all of us that begs for us to be perfect, though we struggle within our human context. And so I look to the garden and the birds of air for mental and spiritual health. And if I’m digging in the dirt and dragging bags of soil and mulch around, it keeps my body healthy too!!!