When I look out the kitchen window and see our geriatric barn cat (the one who I thought was near death because she was barely eating and drinking and not leaving her rug, only to show up three days later at the back porch meowing for her breakfast) curled up cozily on the lush turf-covered lid to the septic tank, I know she is on to something. Even the most disgusting stuff can have an upside. In this case, her thin frail frame will never get cold as long as she can find that nice green spot. She doesn’t care what makes it warm and cushiony, only that it is. In fact life throws us plenty of septic tank lids to hunker down on if we only know how to find them in the grass.
The other day I was mowing lawn, not thinking about much of anything, which is one of the true pleasures of cutting grass. I took a swath near the garden through some taller grass that had not been mowed for over a month, forgetting that well over a month ago, after planting the beans, I neglected to pick up rolled up twine and stakes that I had used to mark the row. The swath of the lawn mower blades guaranteed I found them again. The twine ended up completely disabling the lawn mower by wrapping tightly around the blades. I was immobilized in my own unwitting and unintentional trap which lay stealthily hidden in a sea of green. I won’t describe in detail what it took to get the blades untwined but it included some blood, a lot of sweat, and not a few tears. Lesson learned: not everything under lush green grass is septic tank toasty–hazards of one’s own creation may be lurking beneath what appears benign and innocent–so pay attention.
Today I was setting up tables and chairs in our yard for a long-planned outdoor bridal shower for a special young woman in our church family. As I spread tablecloths, arranged flowers, and strung up festive lights, I noticed a farmer driving slowly by with a huge tanker, turning into his large acreage of grassy field across the road. Within minutes he was spraying liquid manure out on his field row after row, only a hundred yards from the spot where I was soon going to have a couple dozen ladies eating a light supper and watching gifts being opened.
This abruptly gave new meaning to the term “shower”.
When you live rural, you accept manure and all its “qualities” as a part of daily life. Thankfully, the ladies arriving at the party were mostly from farming backgrounds and were completely understanding about the frequent comings and goings of the tanker during the evening. The bride-to-be was very gracious indeed. I’m grateful the wind was blowing the other way. If I’d been really quick on my feet to make profound use of this opportunity, I could have reflected on the benefits of “liquid fertilizer” on a new marriage relationship. When the going gets slippery and smelly in a couple’s life together, as it invariably does, it is important to remember where there is manure, there is eventually growth, there is fruitfulness, there is harvest. You really need to stick it out, knowing something better is coming soon, if only you have faith that the rough times don’t last forever.
It was an unexpected gift to all of us, made more meaningful while eating a most amazing fresh raspberry pie, in the acknowledgment that in some other field a few miles away, it was liquid fertilizer that made those succulent berries thrive.