Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dirt is a four letter word

Dirt. Many people do not see "dirt" in the same way I do. Some think so little of it that it can be used as a term in a put down. Someone might say "you are dumber than dirt" as a way of insulting you. I personally don't see "dirt" that way.

The creation story tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and that he eventually separates out dry ground (dirt) from the water. This dry ground (dirt) becomes pretty important to everything else since it is where plants, animals, and people find a comfortable safe place to dwell. Later in the story of Genesis we read what happens when God brings the water back (the great flood) and all the dry ground (dirt) disappears. In forty days man is wiped out and the nature of life on earth is altered. Noah and his family are the sole survivors and the first thing they look for as the waters recede is dry ground (dirt). So it seems to me that dirt is pretty important stuff and it should be respected and cared for.

Last weeks blog, "the humility of a farmer" detailed how the dirt has the ability to keep me forever aware that I am dependent on something far beyond my control for my existence. Perhaps people who don't farm for a living can more easily forget this fact but the truth is still there, "Almost every part of our human experience starts with "dirt"". Let us reflect a moment on this thought.

Where does food come from? Dirt
Where does petroleum come from? The earth. Well that is a form of dirt.
Where does wood come from? Trees that grow in the dirt.
Where does glass come from? Sand, another form of dirt.
The list goes on and on. Everything wraps back around to "dirt" at some level.

I heard/read a joke that went something like this. Some scientist came to God one day and said, "We have finally figured it out. We can now make man without your help". To which god replied, "That is pretty good, show me how you do it." So the scientist bent down, scooped up a bucket full of the finest dirt they could find and..... God said, "Wait just a minute! Go get your own dirt!"

My point in all this is just to emphasize that we are all directly connected to the "dirt" and that we really don't know all that much about it. It is for this reason that I try to take good care of what has been trusted to my care. I simply don't know much but I do know that "dirt" is foundational to my understanding of who I am and where I come from.

I see society as a whole becoming more aware of this situation almost daily. I see people expressing interest in where food comes from in the natural food movement, what impact human behavior has on the earth (dirt) in the environmental movement, and many other things. In my view all this is people's reaction to God pointing out to them yet again that there are things at work that are much bigger than we are and we need to pay attention.

Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

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