Why You Should Love Dirt… (& go dig up some, plant some seeds)

Wind whistles through truck windows, pitched song of spring, and I brush hair strands out of eyes.

I’ve come with food for men planting food.

Apron strings blow out pick-up window.

Aroma of whole wheat pizza, still-warm brownies, blows over land. Farmer Husband and his brother only have a few more rounds and then they’ll idle tractors, eat.

I haven’t remembered a towel; just left pans on the counter, the clock ticking loud. Can he wash his blackened hands in the water of the ditch? Though hot gusts stir up dust devils, sends them spinning across the front fifty, that ditch water is still with winter, cleaning hands burning cold.

A red wing blackbird sways, sings, in the grasses on the ditch bank, maraca in April winds.

Looking across behind the barn, earth stretches dark. Fields have tilled up loamy this year, dark with promise. Where the planter’s disks have rolled seeds into soil, lines scratch dirt like fork tines.

Whatever’s at the end of a fork, ultimately comes from the dirt.

What I sweep off the floor, what I wash from their jeans, what I scrub off hands, this that we’re made of but disdain, that we paint and moisturize, swath and sculpt, this dirt is the earth’s one resource that nourishes our stomachs, sustains our limbs.

In our travels, when we meet people, we’re asked what we do and I always hesitate; there’s no grand title and I can read their eyes. Farming requires no specialized degree, no impressive wage for menial labor, the earliest, base work of any civilization. We’re just farmers. We just grow food. It doesn’t get more rudimentary.

But maybe it doesn’t get more essential?

Dirt-tilling is to understand Genesis work, to steward and cultivate His creation. It is to embrace gospel living: the good news that God provides.

Dust farming dust, preparing food for men planting food, I’m just living this circular dance, circle of life. For from dirt, through dirt, until we return to the dirt…. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

We’re made of dirt and until they bury our bodies in dirt, we need dirt to live. I walk the sod lightly.

A gust blasts earth granules from field against my face; driving eyelids close. Child buries head in my skirt. We may turn away, but dirt is what feeds us. We digs our hands into it, receive it as inheritance from our Creator, as loan from our children.

I watch the planter come down the field, dirt blowing, cloud descending.

Working earth is to touch God; what we eat from the soil is directly from His hand.

The tractor pulls up on the headlands, markers rising, and Farmer Husband jumps down, feet hitting the field. Dust flies. He gives me the thumbs up. Field done. White smile flashes from the grime.

The dirt on which we all stand, it’s holy ground.

Photos: planting corn this weekend

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