(from humilis—Latin for low, of the earth)

I retrieve the thick blue foam pad
and toss it in the empty bucket
along with a sturdy trowel, my favorite
pair of clippers and the digger—
a three-pronged fork perfect for
raking small patches of stubborn dirt.

If I remember, I grab the gardening
gloves I’d rather not use but know I
should in thorny situations. Dirty hands,
soil embedded in nails, drying the skin,
is such a satisfying feeling, as it is to
sink onto the foam kneeler before
a plant, a bed, a bush that needs

Is there a more humbling act
than this? I never considered myself
a prayerful person; it took years to see
that this pose that strains muscles
I use only to do this work counts
as communion, as divine interaction,

that every whispered, OK, grow now,
is a heartfelt blessing, a devotion.
This being human is blessedly low,
of the earth—me, here, with busy hands,
happy in quietude, tranquil mind.

And when I rise, brush off dirt and plant
bits—stray roots dangling from my knees
like lace—I grin at my creaking parts
as, unbidden, the prayer sweeps through:



You can listen to Jan read this poem here.

Photo: Jan Haag / Mural: Mary Sand

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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