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December 25, 2014
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Black Gold

Photo by Amanda Reed

By Sally Hendee

The earth had settled after brewing for ages,
simmering down to a rich, black soil ready to draw
the very best from seed placed within its shallow furrows.
They stretched like rows on a chenille bedspread toward the horizon.

Perfect lines, uniformly spaced, waited to be filled
with small, eager bulbs and grains of suspended life,
expected to burst and sprout beneath the covered ridges of moist earth.

They sought more exposure to the elements,
reached above themselves, through the damp darkness.
Pale with newness, but with the strength of plant instinct,
they pushed upward, understanding the unseen light they needed.

There, the air moved around them. They had broken free
from the rich cocoon of nourishment, born into the light.
They were exposed now, vulnerable to the whims of an open, natural world.

Tended by man and wrapped in the warmth of season and sun,
washed by the soft nudging rains that now tapped upon their lean,
growing bodies, equally handsome and beautiful,
they became what they were meant to be.

The nursery of deep richness, still clung to their roots,
protected the source of it all and in some cases,
the very identity and reason for them given the time and care.
Sacred dirt, sacred as sun, held secrets of sustenance.

Did we look beneath us in appreciation or think less of what was underfoot?
We cursed dirt within our homes, the very homes whose foundations
we entrusted to it for security and stability.
We pulled the food for our existence
from same gritty gut.

Some knew the value of gold that was black,
the wealth that came from the banks of turned soil.
Some understood the wisdom of dirt.

Passionate keepers of the treasure, who deposited in those banks,
we hoped would never tire, though the work was endless
and nature, at times, cared little about their efforts.

Rich black furrows-deep furrowed brow,
Moist dark earth-dark, drenched skin,
respected the other for what was given.
The earth tended to be thoughtful when it was thoughtfully tended.

Human roots, too, are deeply embedded in the earth.
Our seeds left above ground, nevertheless
dependent on the earth for nourishment and growth.
Ancient beliefs bring us back to humble rest, when breathing is done.
We return to the quiet, soft darkness deep within her breast.