Today’s average American is more apt to rebel against a tennis shoe
not coming in the right color than against the slow erosion
of our democratic freedom.
(a major project at home/ red Georgia clay / Julie Cook / 2016)
It’s not the moon.
It’s not some foreign land
It’s not a desert….
Yet it feels very much like a desert.
With deadly heat radiating up and off.
This forbidding alien landscape, however, is merely an excavated and grated bank in our yard.
Remember our yard is a former pasture.
This is a large, long, dry, hot, rocky bank.
A daunting side project…a resulting spill off project, stemming from a larger project.
A side project, now a major project, demanding immediate attention.
There has been no rain…
Nothing of consequence in over a month.
The word drought comes to mind….
And with a large mountain and wall of dirt needing covering….
I am concerned…
If it’s not planted or covered soon, any thunderstorm could spell disaster.
High winds could wickedly whip up the dirt with destructive results.
A downpour would turn a dirt bank into a raging red river of mud.
The only solution is to plant some sort of erosion barrier.
Planting bushy shrubs, adding low growing spreading plants, a few small tress…
and lots and lots of pine straw.
Then the watering upon watering as no real rain is in sight…
A lot of work, but necessary to stop destructive erosion.
After having had a little chat with my fellow southern blogging buddy Wally,
over on Truth in Palmyra ( https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com ),
regarding my dilemma of having to get this bank planted,
Wally jokingly told me “whatever you do, don’t plant kudzu!”
Any true southerner knows kudzu.
That noxious weed-like vine that covers the south like….well…
journalists covering this current election business…
(Image courtesy of the Lexington Herald Leader)
It was just a matter of time I suppose…
Time before a Southerner, such as myself, should bring up our dirty little secret…
According to Wikipedia…
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is an invasive plant in the United States. It has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres (610 km2) annually, “easily outpacing the use of herbicide spraying and mowing, as well increasing the costs of these controls by $6 million annually”. This claim, however, has recently been disputed, the United States Forest Service estimating an increase of only 2,500 acres per year. Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences. This has earned it the nickname, “The vine that ate the South”.
The kudzu plant was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Kudzu was introduced to the Southeast in 1883 at the New Orleans Exposition. The vine was widely marketed in the Southeast as an ornamental plant to be used to shade porches, and in the first half of the 20th century, kudzu was distributed as a high-protein content cattle fodder and as a cover plant to prevent soil erosion. The Soil Erosion Service recommended the use of kudzu to help control erosion of slopes which led to the government-aided distribution of 85 million seedlings and government-funded plantings of kudzu which paid $19.75 per hectare. By 1946, it was estimated that 1,200,000 hectares (3,000,000 acres) of kudzu had been planted. When boll weevil infestations and the failure of cotton crops drove farmers to move from rural to urban districts, kudzu plantings were left unattended. The climate and environment of the Southeastern United States allowed the kudzu to grow virtually unchecked. In 1953 the United States Department of Agriculture removed kudzu from a list of suggested cover plants and listed it as a weed in 1970. By 1997, the vine was placed on the “Federal Noxious Weed List”.Today, kudzu is estimated to cover 3,000,000 hectares (7,400,000 acres) of land in the southeastern United States, mostly in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi.
Back in the day, kudzu seemed like a good idea…
It was going to help,
Yet it was left unchecked,
It got out of control…
and now it’s a disaster…
Oddly, or rather with impeccable timing… the morning I was to focus on my sea of red dirt, the morning’s reading was Luke 8:4-15
the parable about the Sower…
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’
“This is the meaning of the parable:
The seed is the word of God.
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
A morning’s parable, a Heavenly word,
coupled with a giant massive dry area of red dirt needing attention….
was not lost on my thoughts.
I wondered what it is that I was currently doing to stop any erosion of my heart, of my faith, of my spirit and soul…especially in light of the current raging tempests in this world…
The daily assault of violence and hatred…the insidious seducing of our weary psyches by our ancient adversary…the twists and turns of what seemed to be truth now offered up as the placating lies of self.
What of those painfully dry periods of life…those times of isolation, loneliness, emptiness…
Was I allowing the storms of terrorism, violence, and hatred to batter an unprotected, unprepared,
dried-up and dusty spirit?
Had I allowed God’s words to spill forth, only to fall upon a hardened dried-up heart?
Had I prepared, shoring up my faith?
Had I nurtured the faith…
Had I cared for it in the quiet and calm times, readying it and myself, so that there would be a reservoir of strength and plenty in now this time of grave uncertainty?
And lastly I wondered if I had nurtured that spiritual relationship, that inextricable bond between Creator and created… had I spent, do I spend, the same sort of time and energy on that relationship, because that’s what it is—a relationship, as I was now spending and investing in and on this red bank rising before me….
So much now needing attention, as I grabbed a shovel under a relentless baking sun…
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:13