I feel like dirt. Normally, when a person says that, he or she is feeling walked on, abused. That’s not what I mean. To the contrary, I almost feel egotistical making such a declaration. I can’t help but recall with humility the Old Testament story of Uzzah, a man who learned a fatal lesson about the holiness of God…and the purity of dirt. However, it is my agrarian roots that first taught me the value of dirt. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a farmer who coined the phrase, “dirt cheap.” Dirt, being an incubator for life, has value. The life that springs from it in growing seasons might get all the attention, but that life wouldn’t exist without a fertile clod into which it can sink its roots.
The school year is my growing season. I usually think of myself as the farmer during this season, tending my little crops of children and students. But right now I am feeling tilled by the plow of productivity and purpose. Heavy blades sank deep, cutting and churning to prepare me for seeds whose identities often remained secret to me for months. Miraculously, I brought forth fruit at times, but often I nurtured weeds, and I had to endure the sickle repeatedly.
Nashville songwriter and blues/rock artist Mark Selby, a man who hails from the farmlands of Oklahoma and Kansas, titled his second solo album, “Dirt.” Today I realize what an ingenious tribute it is. Between a gold record and a dirt record, I wonder if Mark might choose to win dirt.
This pile of dirt isn’t up to competing with gold. I need to lie fallow for awhile. Rest. Soak up the sunshine of scant schedules and the rain of recreation. My matriarchal muse, Planting Season, smiles from the horizon.