Breaking Ground

The advent of September heralds Spring in Australia. The days are warming with evenings crisp and cool, not yet the balmy relief we need in Summer. 

The native flowers are blooming, I have kangaroo paws unfurling outside my study window, growing taller each day. And the blossom of fruit trees is a cloud of pink, and white throughout the suburbs.

Spring is a gentle season, a season of transition, a season of new beginnings. As we watch the bulbs poke their green spikes through the soil we are reminded it is a season of small, slow, emergences from dark places.

How has your winter been? Has it been a much-needed time of rest? Has it been a season of darkness and pain? Has it been an unending everyday dreariness?

The arrival of spring reminds us that those dark places of winter, though hard, were not for nothing. In the quiet slow working under the ground there was much needed growth.

Winter is a season of rest. A season when the ground lies still and undisturbed for a time. The season of leaving the ground ‘fallow’.

The dictionary describes fallow as:

  • (of land) left unseeded after being ploughed to regain fertility for a crop
  • (of an idea) undeveloped, but potentially useful

The word comes from Old English and means ‘to break up land for sowing’.

There is a clear picture here that soil needs to be left for a time of rest before it can be replanted, and after that time of rest, that the soil needs to be prepared for planting.

Have you had a time where you have had to rest, and leave things fallow in your life?

The beginning of Spring is a time of preparation. It is a time of breaking new ground. A time when we get out in the sunshine and do the hard work of preparing the soil.

It is not the joy of planting, yet! Rather it is removing the weeds, and breaking up the hardened ground. It is a toil that seems to give no real yield. And yet it is a very necessary step in this season. For if the soil isn’t healthy, with all that is required for growth, then how can we expect the plants to thrive?

What is your idea that you have lying fallow and would like to bring to life? Before you can develop it, you need to create the best environment for it to grow.

In the garden breaking ground may involve turning the soil, for your dream it may be turning it over with some trusted friends.

In the garden preparing the soil involves eliminating weeds, for your dream it may mean eliminating distractions to create space.

In the garden you may need to add fertiliser or nutrients, for your dream, you may need to take a workshop, or set yourself a creative challenge.

It is a quiet rite of spring to prepare the soil. It is a hard often unseen work. But maybe for you the fallow season has ended and it is time to break ground.

For reflection I leave you with this well know passage from Ecclesiastes. Peace be with you as you as quietly contemplate what steps you need to take in this new season.


There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
   a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
   a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
   a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
   a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8