This week’s wind had me thinking of the Dust Bowl days. That and a brief conversation with a friend of mine about this pandemic. You mix together a dash of man-made crisis with a pinch of natural disaster and you reap a whirlwind like bowling dust. Overworking your plot of land and life, stripping it bare to its ashy marrow… I don’t mean to draw too many parallels here I simply mean to say I have been considering the way we take and take with no provision to replenish. How we begin and end in the dirt. It got me thinking is all.
Need me a good crop cover for my own soul. The kind you sow for the soil’s sake—relieving it from erosion, soaking up what’s excessive, balancing what’s off-kilter, protecting it from invasive things. Clothing its nakedness so when the wind howls it won’t take with it my epidermis. Won’t peel me back to nothing good for growing nothing.
I think we all come to the point of being worked over so habitually that we grow anemic. Add to that the drought and pestilence that comes and it can make for the perfect storm. Sometimes hinges don’t hold and all the breakers blow and the roof gives way. Nothing is forever here. Nothing held together by these things, anyhow. We are seeing this now. Seeing how fragile we are before an invisible bug. But our strength does not rest in muscle. It’s in another realm. Deeper. Untouchable. Indestructible. You can have everything and yet nothing. You can have nothing and yet everything.
I like to think God is in the dirt. Cultivators understand this. It’s such a humble place to begin yet all of life started there. And what you put in is measured back to you beyond reason. I collect trash all year long for composting. I turned over my bin this week and saw an entire ecosystem at work. A dark, nutrient-rich soil full of worms the size of small snakes. You can’t convince me that good things do not come from discarded parts. Carbon and nitrogen working their magic and mystery. God is in that. I see Him there. A heap of dirt and all the makings for something fruitful.
I have never read The Grapes of Wrath but I’ve watched the film. It’s heartbreaking. Inspiring. Foretelling. Economic crisis coupled with drought and pestilence. Poor agricultural practices. The human spirit forced into the depths of despair and survival. It seems this is a common recipe for coming to the end of ourselves. How I wish it wasn’t the road to such things. I suppose when everything is pried from our hands they learn to pray.