Gratitude for Soil

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We give thanks to the rock that has been ground fine by ice and wind and flowing water. That has been permeated by tiny patient life forms who nibble it into the dance of life. We thank you for making this Earth blanket, this bed of possibility. We give thanks to the microbes and fungi and roots who work beneath the surface, conjuring soil out of bedrock, making space for air and water and warmth to mix with the mineral.

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We give thanks to the microbes, unseen and ever-present, for your tireless work of transforming death into life. We thank you compost heaps for your steady work of decay. For taking what no longer serves us and turning it into the golden currency of growth and nurture. We give thanks to the dead—the fallen leaves, diatoms, animals and people. The breaking down of the intricate organization of the elements of your bodies makes available the essential ingredients for the rebirthing of life.

We give thanks for the wonder of clay, where earth has become so malleable in its fineness that it can unite in creativity with the eager hands of the human potters, bringing forth the useful and beautiful. You, kind clay, offer yourself to the builders of homes, from termite castles to swallows’ nests to adobe houses. And thanks also to the clay who can pull toxins right out of our bodies, soothe itches, cool us down-- as our four-footed relatives have shown us, wallowing in their delicious mud.

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We give thanks to all the roots and fibrous fungal networks below our field of vision, who hold the soil together, who feed and who are fed by it and who even feed each other. May you flourish and may you teach us about generosity and cooperation. Thanks also to the burrowing animals, the insect larvae and worms who till and aerate and fertilize soil and make the little water channels that hydrate the skin of our Mother.

We give thanks to all you farmers, who pick up the soil in your sensitive, sturdy hands, who feel it and smell it and love it and listen to its needs. Who unite our hopes with soil’s possibilities and promise.

We ask forgiveness, Soil of the world, when we disparage you as simply that which is unclean, when we forget reverence, and, especially, when we dump poisons into you, thinking perhaps that your tolerance for our neglect and wastefulness is infinite. May we all of us remember you, come back to our senses, touch you with love, and treat you with the respect due to the Giver of Life.