Thursday, November 27, 2008


A year or so ago they ploughed a toll road through the thick, waxy soil that is the farmland that rolls over the once-expansive plain of the Blackland Prairie. You can see the serpentine spine rise up to the east as you drive south out FM 973. Platt Road is just an afterthought, a sign that leaps up off the farm road and disappears off to the West beneath mountains of dirt, (called overburdens) heaped up by the gravel pit operations. Cottonwood and Rooselvelt weed lurch up out of the newly formed landscape. I have been watching these man-made heaps of burden, watching the kestrels and hawks swoop down into the trees erupting there, and as I hear news of the now-two-lane road being expanded into five, as I see the subdivisions gathering at the edge of this almost forsaken landscape like hostile troops, I begin to grieve the loss of this unlikely beauty. How do we unpack the complexity of intentions here? A pile of refuse soil that once was topsoil, a pile of topsoil (farmer's gold) considered a burden to the mining of aggregate as "cheap as dirt."

I don't know. Such thoughts as these weave through as I drive out the quiet road, considering the particular focus that has been my life these past couple of years, and the heaps of friendships abandoned (at least neglected) in the pursuit of what seems at this moment a truckload of gravel.

I hesitate to reach for a tidy metaphor--I do not hesitate to see the miner in myself, misguided oftentimes in priorities, but at heart immensely filled with gratitude for the people in my life who are to me (yes, still), the farmer's gold.