On Saturday, my wife said that she had read on the Cove’s forum that blueberries were ready to pick down at the community garden and asked if I could pick some for her. Wanting to be a good husband and knowing from years of training that the two best words a man can utter are, “Yes, dear,” I replied that Sunday would be a better day to do her bidding.
So, yesterday, when time availed itself, my preparation for the good deed began. Looking for a container with which to retrieve the berries started out with the idea of an old plastic milk jug cut in half, knowing that there probably wouldn’t be many berries remaining. After all, the message had been sent to several hundred people. However, from not finding a suitable cutting tool to having no other small container available, it felt like I was being led to take something larger. Soon, after listening to that still small voice speak, a left-over dry-wall mud bucket was chosen. “Too large, but at least it would be easy to tote since it had a nice handle,” I said to myself.
After washing my new oversized carrying container under the outside hydrant, my journey began. Through the shade of the deep woods, over the trail that wound beside a gentle flowing stream, the pathway led. There was a cool breeze – quite a pleasant surprise, considering we are in the midst of the summer months. The birds were singing melodies quite pleasing to the ear, providing a serenade of peace that made the weary soul rejoice. Before I knew it, the forest gave way to the open field surrounded by the black wooden fencing where the gardens lay.
My suspicions from the initial thoughts of the number of blueberries available to be picked were soon confirmed – pickins’ were far and few between. Yet, knowing that even a couple handfuls would make my beloved happy, I began taking what few drops of heavenly sweetness would afford. After gleaning as many as possible, my large bucket seemed still wholly empty. The breeze wafted, causing the apple trees nearby to catch my eye. There, splendidly arrayed, were several trees with ripe apples of different varieties. “Well, since there’s plenty of room, why not,” the thought came. So, ambling in their direction, my hands eagerly picked some of the delectable choice morsels. “These would be wonderful treats and add a nice touch to my daily smoothies,” the thoughts cascaded into my head.
While I had been picking the bounty of fare, several different groups had arrived, either tending to their own gardens or just stopping by to view the plots therein. As I made my way to the gate to leave, one of those couples hailed me, “Hey, would you like some cucumbers or zucchini? We have plenty.”
“Sure, I would love some,” came my reply. “I work full-time, so I just don’t have time to plant a garden.”
“Well, we’d be happy to share. They’re just on the other side of the fence.”
“Ok, I was just headed that way.”
We met at the exit gate and exchanged greetings, shaking hands, the husband and wife. They looked to be around my age and very fit. Evidently, life had treated them well. We shared where we lived, each not knowing exactly where that was, seeing as the size and scope of the neighborhood.
We talked briefly about gardening as they pointed to the vegetables arrayed on the ground. I shared with them how much we missed growing a garden since leaving the farm back in Chatham County. They handed me one item after another until my bucket was nearly overflowing. It was then I realized what had happened. The Lord had shown again his ability to provide even when there was no thought nor request for sustenance. “Give us this day our daily bread” came to mind as they eagerly shared their hard work and graciousness. Before leaving, I thanked them repeatedly, ending with, “The Lord told me to bring a bigger bucket today. Now I know why.”
They smiled in return, and we said our goodbyes.
As I walked home along the trail of tranquility, the peace of Christ that passes all understanding blanketed my heart with sweet joys. The burning in my arms from carrying the great reward was a blessing, not only because of what was shared but knowing that God had again provided over and above all that was expected.
I was not worthy, yet he sent his Son to take the wrath for my sins on the cross so that a sinner like myself could have eternal life.
Yes, a prayer was answered even when it wasn’t mentioned.
The cold gray light of dawn had yet to reach the brink of my
window sill. Somewhere over the mountain, the light had yet to reach this side
of the morn. Like waves crashing upon the
rocks of a distant shore, I could hear, but I could not hear. The words of the
young man from the day before returned; thoughts of music and farming combining
as one. As he spoke, my mind reflected on the scripture references: ashes to
ashes, dust to dust, as we are one with the earth from whence, we came.
I placed my materials at the judge’s
table well in advance of the start of the days Fiddler’s Convention. As I
returned with a fresh cup of coffee, a young man settled into my left, he too being a judge for the morning’s event.
“William Ritter,” he said as we shook hands.
To his left, another judge began to sit down. They had known
one another from other encounters and began to strike up a conversation of
coming events, dances, and such. I casually listened as I watched folks of all
ages filtering into the Lynnville Falls ballroom of the Plemmons Student Center at Appalachian State University where we
were part of the 11th annual Fiddler’s Convention. Our morning was to start with the youth guitar
competition. Voices filled the chamber as I serenely sipped the bitter brew. Eventually,
the keywords struck my ear that seemed to
be a bit at odds, “Heirloom seeds and music.”
“Did I hear you correctly,” my attention now turned fully to
the bearded young man sitting next to me?
During the course of
their conversation, I had come to understand that they had connections through
Warren Wilson College, where sustainable agriculture was taught and practiced. William
had mentioned speaking at one of the events they had been talking about on the subject
of heirloom seeds, music, and their connection.
“Tell me more,” I asked, now fully vested in understanding
his perspective; my own had already been retrieved and ready to compare. He
shared how we too often take for granted those seeds that which are passed down
from one generation to the next, and how much richer and sweeter those fruits
and vegetables taste when compared to generic, run of the mill seeds purchased
at your local farm supply store.
Nodding my head in agreement, I fully understood where he
was going. He went on to say how old-time music is much the same, how society
doesn’t appreciate the traditional music and how it is passed down from one
generation to the next; it too having a
much richer and sweeter disposition upon the soul than other forms of music.
“It is our affliction,” I said to him. He paused in reflection,
thinking deeply about what I had said. You could tell he wanted to dig deeper,
but before we could embark further, the emcee for our judging event called the
program into order, and the participants began to perform, one after another. In
our short, but rewarding time together, William and I found a common thread and
Reflecting back to that moment, there had been so much more
to convey that had sprung forth from that beginning. Like a seed being planted,
those purposeful words of heirloom seeds and music, so too was our faith passed
down from one generation to the next. Either one of which, that may be dropped,
perpetuates a loss to the coming generations; their ancestral ties to the truth
become endangered. Someone once said, “We
are one generation away from apostasy.”
As surely as I awoke this morning, I knew in my heart that God
had planted me next to William Ritter for a purpose yesterday. Inside of me,
there was a renewed sense of being and what
the Lord had called me to do. The words, “Afflicted
to be Convicted,” came to mind. I sat up in bed, searching for pen and
paper in the dark before the words left me.
My life had been one of working the land, while soothing
music reconnected my spirit to God. A vision of the past began to take hold. In
it, there stood a figure in the cold light of day, there were no shadows, only
the gray, bleakness of late winter. The boy picked up a handful of the dark earth
and crumbled the rich soil through his fingertips. As tiny remnants of dirt
slipped through his hand, he pulled his fist close to his face and inhaled,
smelling the deep aroma of rich humus. His mind drifted back to the garden just
outside Grandma Tron’s tiny kitchen window.
It was early spring, and it was the dark of the moon. Easter
was near. The family had been called in for the celebration of Good Friday. The
cherry trees would soon be blossoming at the Roofless Church. Whenever the family gathered, they also came to work
together. A Tron was not content to just sit; they had to keep busy. It was
time for putting in the potato sets for the year’s garden, and Grandma had the troops fully deployed. Most
of the blooms on the trees and bushes had yet to come forth; summer was still a
distant thought, but we knew if Grandma had said it was time to plant, then it
was time to plant. The dirt was cool to the touch as his hands dug one hole
after another, placing the sets carefully so that the eyes were facing up.
Behind him, a cousin was following, laying straw into the bed, covering the
seedlings, as yet, another cousin followed the other, pulling the soil back
over both, tucking them into bed for their eventual resurrection. Grandma
worked alongside us, whistling old hymns in the sweetest refrains. We often
tried to mimic her, but our lips could never sustain the sweetness to which she
carried her melodies. One after another, their gentle refrains blessed our
ears, calming our youthful spirits. It was back-breaking
work, but the reward, spending time with grandma, and then to be rewarded with a
fresh plate of her fried potatoes, was well worth any toil.
He looked at his dirt-stained
hands, the soil blackened beneath his nails; the sense of accomplishment and
family; a feeling he would not soon release. The unnamed melodies forever planted
within his soul; the bond of earth and song were inseparable. The two were in
his blood forever part of who he was.
God had created man from the earth, breathing life into his
nostrils, so that he could have life. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of
the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.8 And
the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden;
and there he put the man whom he had formed.”-Gen.2:7-8 After the
sin, man was cursed to work the land, by
sweat and toil; yet, again, it was who he was. “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast
hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I
commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy
sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;18 Thorns
also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of
the field;19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat
bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for
dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”-Gen.3:17-19
God had intended for us to work the land from that point
forward, but not only the land, our humanity as well. His only Son provided us with the path to eternal life through our salvation,
but only such that we had been entrusted with the planting of those seeds of
faith. Without them, the future generations would be lost to sin, and eternal death.
It is our conviction of purpose to plant those seeds. Although we as sowers may never reap the harvest, it is up to us to carry
on the Word of God unto the world, for these were Christ’s own words, “18 And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying,
“All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth.19 Go
ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,20 teaching them
to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world.” Amen.”-Mat.28:18-20
As my fingertips glide across the keys, music connects me to
another realm whereby God speaks through me in spite of me. The connection is
undeniable. “Let the word of Christ dwell
in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”-Col.3:16
Like that feeling of dark soil slipping through our
fingertips, its smell reaching our senses, reminding us of our irrefutable
connection to the earth, and God’s love. “In
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;
for out of it wast thou taken: for dust
thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Seeds of faith, the far-reaching
ability to touch our hearts through music, and the ground upon which we trod;
we are never far from the graces of God.
Long ago, the seeds of faith were planted in my soul.
Grandma gently watered them with beautiful melodies of faith, which to this
day, bring grace to my heart. We may pass from this life to the next one day,
but until we do, we too shall break the ground and plant the seeds for those to
come; lest they fall to the wayside and darkness prevail.
Preserve those heirloom seeds, music, and faith, if not for
yourself, do it for those you love.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Let our affliction become our conviction in all that we do.
Yeah, though sleep death doth linger in my lungs, I once more find my pathway diverging. Tomorrow holds what it may, so I only know what today has brought thus far.
All around me was silence.
Outside the window, spring had barely begun. The trees were just beginning to blossom forth the tender cusps of leaf. There was the occasional creak of the beautiful wood floor that ran the length of the sanctuary.
The church bell chimed breaking the stillness in the air.
Just a few weeks ago, the Reverend Billy Graham’s body had lain in state just feet away from where I sat in the Chatlos Memorial Chapel. In its place now was a long, low table with an exquisite floral arrangement in the center. It was my time to commune with God. The flower in the middle of that grand table caused me to pause.
My mind drifted back to the little country farmhouse on the edge of New Harmony. My grandma Tron’s dimly lit kitchen was quiet. The fading evening light whispered in through the open window. Outside, the kitchen garden spewed forth all manner of color and aroma. Its bouquet of love poured through the threadbare curtains as they danced in the gentle breeze. There was an uneasy silence in the room, save for the only drop of color to be seen; the single white flower placed with care in the cup in the center of the worn table. Outside, the voices of the family coming in from the main staple garden drifted ahead of their beings. Through Ms. Wolf’s gate, then across the pasture, they would trounce, the little ones dancing ahead, chasing butterflies as they ran. Behind them, the elders would come, either carrying buckets of ripe vegetables or pulling wagon loads of produce ready to be canned. Their return was a time of rejoicing and thankfulness. Before long, the empty room would burst forth with laughter, hands of labor, and conversations of so many thoughts and trials.
The light over the ancient table would come on at the flip of the wall switch, and the room would explode with a golden hue. The sagging would floor, precariously covered with well-worn linoleum, would creak under the weight of those entering; none would notice so known was its sound.
As the work was done, the harvest was stored, the bodies would slowly leave. Once the baths were taken and little ones put to rest, the few older parents remaining would gather around the old kitchen table and slowly say goodnight.
In the end, grandma, the last of our family’s eldest, would pause and open the Bible. Grandpa had gone on to glory many years before. Now it was just her each evening. There under the dim kitchen light, she would read the scriptures that so vividly etched out her life. Looking up, her tired eyes would rest upon that single budding lily. Even now, I can see her smile.
Outside the window, the whippoorwill call would signal the end of another day. From inside the kitchen, the sweet sounds of grandma gently whistling, “Peace in the Valley,” could be heard, joining the nocturnal call of the bird of night.
Nothing could be more serene.
Once more, I was awakened from my vision by the church chimes reminding me it was time to leave.
My commune with God had come to an end for the moment.
In my heart, there is a feeling that I will return.
Most of my adult life existed without owning a formal dining room. However, once we knew we were going to build our dream home, there was no question about it having to include the “Formal Dining” room. We seemed to go for quite some time after building our house to actually have a use for that fancy room that sat just off the kitchen, overlooking the front gardens and the creek outside the large picture glass window.
It was the Thanksgiving that we had my late grandmother, Wilma Pryor, visiting when we first used the room for its intended purpose. Back then, before children, we had lots of time to entertain and visit with neighbors in the area. This particular Thanksgiving, we had our neighbor friends from up off the main road (the main road was the paved road that passed our gravel road), Harry and Katherine Robertson. Grandma Wilma seemed to enjoy visiting with Harry and Katherine, so we took the opportunity to include our neighbors in our holiday meal and to celebrate the use of our very own dining room.
We had met Harry and Katherine by an accidental encounter or excuse, however you prefer to look at it, through the tale of a little dog I called “Buddy.” Of course, the tale of Buddy is another story for another time. Katherine was a retired nurse but still and always will in my mind, a concert pianist. On one of my very first unannounced visits to their home up on the main road, I stopped in only to have her husband Harry meet me at the door with his index finger pushed across his lips in the “Shhh” position and then motion me to follow him. As I stepped through the opened screened door, I could hear the sounds of a record playing beautiful classical piano melodies. I followed Harry through their kitchen and into their formal dining room, only to find the sounds of the music growing louder as we progressed. The farther we traveled the more it became obvious that this was not a recording but rather, live music. Harry had built his home such that the formal dining room was open into a hallway that separated it from the drawing room. As we neared the drawing room, it became perfectly clear that the woman seated at the full blown grand piano was his wife, Katherine, and that the music emanating from therein was from her and not the recording I had first thought. This was just the first of many wonderful discoveries we had with the wonderful and entertaining elderly couple. Harry was also himself a very talented portrait artist and learned individual, so that any visit with the Robertsons was never a short visit.
That Thanksgiving, with Grandma Wilma, Harry and Katherine, seemed to be the perfect initiation for our new formal dining room. Sheryl, my wife, and Wilma had worked hard to prepare the perfect meal which was quite distinguished. We sat around with our plates full, discussing various topics as the meal progressed. I can remember sitting there and thinking to myself how this was how people that had “Made It” lived. However, part of me knew I was much more comfortable on that bench at the end of grandma Tron’s kitchen table. There in that humble farmhouse back in Indiana, there was no room for a formal dining room. The kitchen table was the central location for all things in life, from Morning Prayer, grand reunions or mourning the loss of loved ones, it all happened at grandma’s kitchen table. That Thanksgiving, as I reflected back to those days gone by while seated at one of the most lavish Thanksgiving Dinners I had ever known, I was thankful not only for our beautiful dining room and family and friends that were there with us that day, but also for all that had made me who I am and for that, I was most thankful of all.
My daughter and I were just about to finish our run yesterday evening when there came the low rumble of thunder from off in the distant. Dark storm clouds had been brewing and rain was falling off and on all throughout the day, so we had caught an opportunity to get a couple miles in before the next downpour began. I thought about our safety and knew that if there was thunder, then somewhere there was lightning. It was this thought that made me hear the words again, “Would you please pass the corn,” ring in my ears once more.
It was nearly forty years ago when we had been gathered at my paternal grandparent’s house for an afternoon dinner and were all gathered around the table. My grandparents didn’t have a fancy dining room, rather the large extended table sat in the kitchen, just an arms length away from the sink. Rain had been falling off and on throughout the day, much like yesterday, so we had decided to make it an afternoon spent indoors. The windows and doors were open as the sweet smell of grandma’s garden just outside the kitchen window wafted fragrances of ripening vegetables that would soon bless our table. Grace had just been performed and the passing of the food around the table had begun. Someone had missed out on the corn and obviously didn’t want to lose any ground so they asked out loud, “Would you please pass the c…?” Before they got the whole word out, there came a blast from above that shook the house, rang our ears and lit up the room all simultaneously.
Somewhat stunned we sat in awe of the power of God.
Before anyone could speak, my two female cousins who had been sitting a few feet away in the front room, came running into the kitchen telling us they had been hit by a blue ball of light that came out of the T.V. They had been watching the television when the lightning struck. They excitedly described that when it blew out the T.V., there came a ball of blue light rolling out of the set, directly toward them. Someone tried to rest their fears by saying it was probably like when someone took your picture and you would still see that bright light in your eyes for a short time afterward. They both adamantly denied this and once again reiterated the blue ball scene. They went on to tell us that the younger cousin had been sitting on the lap of the other and how the ball came straight for them and then passed through their stomachs. We all shook our heads in disbelief but disdained from further questioning in honor of their sanity. Years later, I would learn of this phenomenon known as “St. Elmo’s Fire” and how pilots would often see this happen in aircraft that would take a direct lighting strike while in flight. Often times, the blue ball would dance around the cockpit before finding a ground source to dissipate into. That day, however, we simply disbelievingly questioned the description of those who experienced the event.
The blue ball story had barely ended when someone returned from the front porch and exclaimed to all, “You ought to see the mess on the front porch.” We all leapt from our seats around the table and crowded around the front door, peering out into the scene before us. Thankfully nobody had been sitting outside when the bolt hit. Just a few feet off the front porch stood a giant majestic Sycamore tree. The side of the tree facing the house was now bare and the bark from it had been blasted all over the porch and surrounding yard. Upon further inspection, one of my uncles who had examined the house for any signs of damage explained how one of the guide wires from the T.V. antennae that stood next to the house was grounded to the Sycamore, which was probably one of the reasons it had been hit. Amazed and still somewhat in shock, we slowly made our way back to the kitchen table where our meal still sat, frozen in time, as if on pause. After everyone had made it back, we began in unison to continue where we left off. However, before getting very far someone speculated, as all had heard, that we shouldn’t ask for the, “Shhh,” someone said, “Don’t repeat it, we might take another hit and this one might be worse.” Then a discussion began about was it “corn” or was it “squash” that did it. The final consensus was the “corn” did it. So for the rest of the meal, just to be safe, we asked, “Would you please pass that,” and then would point to the appropriate dish even though corn was very touchy at that point.
While the meal resumed where it had left off, the rain began to come down again and the streams of droplets poured in tiny waterfalls. It added a tranquil sound to the talk around the table where we sat and ate fresh vegetables and other dishes grown or raised on the farm. Unlike today, we were in touch with the world around us, either feeling its effects through the atmosphere or by ingesting the food created therein.
Yesterday, after we finished our run, we took time to cool down, taking off our shoes and socks, letting our feet breathe before finally going inside to shower in the air-conditioned house. Nowadays, with all the windows shut tight and the man-made climate, we are losing touch with our world. The long hot summer days giving way to the cool crisp days of autumn have less significance. On the farm, back in those days with open windows, the summer months were hot even in the shadowed confines of the ancient home, so we moved a little slower, but the fall brought a new time; harvesting and gathering. With the change in season, we began to prepare for the cold winter months. Today in our, “have it now” world, we take less time in preparation from one season to the next. The only similarity is winter, where we are once again confined to the warmth of indoors.
The farther we move away from our connection to the earth, the farther we move away from who we are. Those who control our world would do well to step back in time and live for a short time outside of the man-made world. Maybe then their decisions would have little more foresight into what is truly important.
Today as I sit here writing the rain drops are falling on the skylights above me.
I thank God for rain and thunderstorms for they give us time to pause and reflect on life and days gone by.
(This was taken from my journal entry of last weekend)
The air is full today.
As I sit here on the freshly mown lawn by the fire I can hear a plethora of sounds, smell the rich fragrance of the blossoms in full bloom and see the movement of life all around me. We await the rain that sits foreboding upon the tree lined horizon. The soil, turned and ready, holds the seeds that have been tucked away, eager for the arrival of the life giving moisture from which they will burst forth toward the light. In a way, they are like children who have been tucked in bed for a long winter’s night slumber on Christmas Eve, knowing Saint Nicholas will soon be arriving; then bursting forth at the first hint of morning light; one seeks a gift while the other will provide the gift of life, food.
All around the farm there is not one moment or sight that does not go rewarded. I can hear the supper’s meal sizzling in the foil on the fire while the Cardinal dashes by, eyeing me as he passes, obviously curious as to why I’m here. This is his domain and I am an unwanted guest. When yonder window pane beckons, he attacks the red bird image, sometimes so boldly that he knocks himself silly. The smell of the sausage returns my thoughts to food being cooked over the open fire. Wandering wisps of smoke follow the slight breeze toward the pasture where the cattle lie now reposed from a day’s foraging. The calves are all sated as they lounge in the green grass, blades of life that just a few days ago struggled to break the trance of the brown landscape of the relentless artic chill.
Squirrels chase one another up and down the hickory tree, nails and tails flying as they go. The skittering sounds of their whimsical games upon the smooth tree bark blend with their squeals of taunts to one another. We once sought them for supper; today we are bent preparing the good earth for an eventual hopeful reward. The delicate balance of seed, soil, water and sunlight will determine the ultimate harvest. It is our task to try to make them all balance out at the right time. So much has been given, but so much more will be asked of us; so says the good book.
Today, the air is so full and rich with all the senses being rewarded no matter where you look. This morning’s azure blue sky has now faded to gray as the coming storms shadow the landscape with an overcast haze. The transition was barely noticeable as we spent the day as a family, working together, collecting the fuel for the fire from the fencerows, plowing and disking the garden, then cooking our supper underneath the outdoor sky. We’ll sleep well tonight for the work of earth and hand not only makes the back weary but likewise rewards the soul.
The image of hundreds of feet, dressed in fancy footwear, walking in some marbled concourse flashed upon the television screen the other day. Possibly the scene from some commercial, I’m not sure because I didn’t have the sound turned on; I rarely watch T.V. But in that brief instant, for some reason, the thought of how perhaps some of those feet, if not most, might not have ever known the touch of bare skin to soil. Some may have never known the fresh earthly embrace of the coolness when bare feet are allowed to explore the world around them. “Could it be possible?” I thought to myself. Then the verse below came to mind;
“The feet bound by leather souls feel not the humbleness of the sod. They carry the person without knowing the terrain below upon which they frequent trod.”
The whirlwind of life sometimes seems to put you on your heels, trying all the while to maintain your balance. When these times become too hectic, one place I find comfort is outside, on the farm. It seems whether it’s working with the cattle or in the garden, there’s an earthly grounding solace to it all. The smell of new turned soil, the feel of dirt under your nails all lend to a particular satisfaction of oneself you come to realize out here; working the land.
Recently, it was a long time overdue, I had to plow under the summer garden, or rather what was left that the weeds had not claimed as their own conquest. Knowing my neglect of visitation had led to this jungle of overgrowth, I gladly hooked the single blade plow up to my tractor to turn it all asunder. However, before I could begin I had to inspect the one recognizable item still growing therein; there was one beautiful cucumber vine that had volunteered itself to grow amongst the angry vegetation. It provided two of the sweetest little cucumbers which were quite rewarding since there had been none since the last vestiges of the spring garden had given up their sumptuous fruit. However, the vine being where it lay, in the dead center middle of the plot, I had no choice but to plow it along with the serpentine pestilence of weeds that surrounded it; another case of all or nothing in a world where singularity of beauty is often forsaken in order to succumb to the needs of the masses.
Once the soil was turned multiple times, the land was a dark, rich earthly aroma laying in rolled rows of earthen loaves. Then, with the disc attached to the tractor, we folded the land again, disking it into finer particles of dirt until it was a smooth precious tender bed ready for seed in which to impart. The growing storm clouds on the southwestern horizon made the project all the more satisfying, knowing the newly sewn seeds would be watered by the master’s hand. All that was left to do was to wait, for the new garden was all but done. One last item was needed, and that the good Lord would provide.
The gentle sound of rain on the rooftop later that evening provided a comforting knowledge of a job well done. Timing is everything in farming and when it all comes together, there is no better feeling. As I scraped vestiges of soil from underneath my grateful fingernails. The smell of earth was still with me…washed down the sink, but forever in mind and spirit.
Then returned the thought of all those dress shoes walking hurriedly to some destination…
“The feet bound by leather souls feel not the humbleness of the sod. They carry the person without knowing the terrain below upon which they frequent trod.”
Then again, it’s likely they never had the chance to even put their hands into that same sod, working the land with bare hands. Earthen soil pushed tightly under the fingernail, some easily knocked free with thumb or forefinger, other requiring the sharp edge of blade to remove. No matter the effort, there still remains a dark reminder of the hand that tills the soil, toils the land and reaps the harvest. No man knoweth like anything more than through what he has struggled or toiled, sweat laden brow, stinging eyes, weary aching backs that seem to lock in place only never to be bent back into their original youthful form. These toilsome folk only know the pain of unending labor to never sit at the master’s table until the very end. While the ones wearing the thick soles, who upon humble earth trod, insulated, cushioned from the realities of the torment by which they so freely live each day, take for granted so much. No thought, no pause given to the flick of the switch, a simple phone call, ordered food prepared by another unknown, then on to pursue frolicking enjoyment with mostly little or no care as to the wake they leave in their path. Then comes Monday morning when it’s back to the cubicled-office they return…wearing the patent leather loafers of life.
Perhaps one day, they too will find the satisfaction of a good days work in the soil upon which they trod, before it’s too late…in this we can only hope…