Dyer, Walter A.
The humble annals of a backyard: "morning chapel", pp. 270-271
THE HUMBLE ANNALS OF A BACKYARD: "MORNING CHAPEL:" BY WALTER A. DYER AM not one of those garden enthusiasts who arise at beauty-sleep time and go out to work feverishly with trowel and hoe for an hour or two before break- fast. For one thing, waking up is a long and solemn rite with me, not to be hurried through thoughtlessly. If I get down by the time the coffee percolator is * ~ ~ ~ ~ I- * " t ) - ..:1 . . 1 A 'l- .. . A"'1'L1 1"L bubbling I Ieel quite sU c ent, ty v ttuouu, z- though I pride myself on being a conscientious gardener, I take my garden pleasures calmly and at such times as circumstances grant me leisure. I do not hotly pursue joy in my garden; I jog along comfortably with it. But if by some lucky chance I beat the coffee percolator by five or ten minutes, I do enjoy a tour of the backyard while the dew is on the grass-a brief but unhurried tour of critical observation not unmixed with a sort of morning adoration. It seems to start the day. In college days we were most of us opposed to compulsory worship on general principles, and yet I know that if a poll had been taken of the undergraduates, there would have been an overwhelming majority in favor of morning chapel. It was a traditional exercise that we would not have wanted to abolish if we could. Not that we felt the need so much of a daily religious service; morning chapel was rather a social observance. It got us together as a college; the ties were knit closer; the day was started as it should be in such a community. And so now I like to foregather with my tomatoes and my beans, my Shirley poppies and my roses, before they and I actually buckle down to the day's work that is appointed to us. Already the shadows are shortening and the sun is pouring his vitalizing beams upon all the growing things. The robins that seem to have a nest high up in our ridiculous old pear tree are singing joyfully because the weather is what it is, and a kindly mortal has spread before them a feast of worms. There are prayers said in this morning chapel. Here is a row of seedlings praying for water; there is a groaning dahlia praying for a stake. But for the most part there is a hymn or two of praise and then a gay commingling in social intercourse; and if there is a mild undercurrent of worshipful intent, that is all the religion I and the garden seem to require. UR, backyard is small; the garden is Lilliputian. And yet within its modest boundaries I can always find more joyful surprises in my short perambulation than a day in the whirl- ing city can offer me. Never a morning, between frost and frost, 270
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