One with the dust

God formed Adam from the dust.
I think He did it to remind humanity to maintain humility- ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
We fade in our temporal glory to rejoin the collective of life.
Dirt both grows life and decomposes that which was alive.

Adam worked the land after the fall
And although God made it difficult, He was still there; bringing rain and sun to nourish and sustain.
It is this dependence that again should strike humility in people from the soil.
Maybe that is why farmers are often described with “humble.”
I think they live so close to the soil, they cannot help but remember that they cannot control everything.

Farming used to be a common occupation; after all,
everyone needs the fruit of the dust.
I am even descended from a long line of farmers;
families who worked the land
tanned
cracked
calloused
weathered
skin.

I did not grow up on a farm.
My family was far from the dust
my father is allergic to…
Yet my mother would always take us to visit where she grew up.
I don’t think she did it to remind us of the land-
but I know it is what she loved
because it was home.

I must confess that
Somewhere in my young mind
The seed and smell of land fixed itself
And I was drawn to the common vein of my ancestors.

I work in the soil
Even though I dwell in a city.
My feet, shod with steel toes
Tread the dust that settles in me
like a plant taking root,
assessing all the creases in my skin
under my nails
on the sweat of my brow.
My hands destroy the life shell- now shroud-
of maize.
I look at my hands
tanned
cracked
calloused
although not so weathered-
and I almost see my grandfather’s hands
from when I was very young
and shucking corn
mercilessly sliced my fresh skin.

I am older now, grown from the soil
I am older now, having worked the land.
I am grown into humility-
Knowing the power of the elements
the power of God
the difficulty of the task
and the delight of completion.

O my soul, sprouted from soil;
reach heavenward until harvest
when we will be taken home
or become one with the dust.

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