Friday, April 14, 2006

Black Dirt

Some years ago I visited the homeplace in Mississippi and filled a Rubbermaid tub with many pounds of black dirt. That loess (as that particular black dirt is called) is some of the finest dirt for growing things, and I wanted some of it for my yard. I wanted to sprinkle it like holy water on the clay soil that didn't drain well and was hard to till.

Finally, I chose the spot and tilled the clay until it was as fine as I could get it, and I spread the tubful of black dirt across the spot. For two days I could see the outline of the black, now turning grey, and then it was absorbed into the clay and disappeared. But, I believed that plants would grow better in that spot.

And, they did - both weeds and grass and the few plants that I set out. At least they grew well until we accidentally mowed them all down...not once, but twice. And, so ended the growing of plants in the soil anointed with black loess from the Mississippi homeplace. Grass grew over the spot and a solitary metal butterfly on a stick marked my "memorial" garden.

Sometimes I try to enhance my faith by sprinkling a tubful of bold prayer over the rationalization. And, the prayer just sits there for a few days and molds itself into the insanity of disbelief. I keep praying, but sometimes the grass just grows over the prayers and I'm back to apathy, questions and considering the absurdity of Christianity.

I'm much safer letting the grass grow, and tilling the soil is a lot of work. Never mind keeping the weeds out. So I read the prayers and I see that I'm growing farther away from the garden.

Fertilizer won't help. I think my garden of faith needs a complete overhaul - dig out the weeds, pull up the grass, till the soil and add the good stuff (lots of it) to the clay. Then maybe I can plant the flowers and spreading plants that will bring me closer to God - closer through giving the gift of a garden of my life.

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