It’s Mud

 

“Muddy Hands”, Michelle Bushnell Jones, Easter 2014

Today I feel like a rock stuck in the mud.

I’ve had a demanding strenuous few weeks and been unable to write much beyond compiled research.

This morning I read a post by a fellow writer who shared her family’s muddy play. Happiness filled my office. Thoughts of  their fun with wet and slippery earth remind me of a time when I too played in the muck, made turtles and bowls and added moss to their forms.

Please forgive me for not fulfilling my offering to God to write you a new contemplative piece from nature. Allow me to offer you a short piece written for Holy Saturday in my Lenten book.

Mud pies are fun to make; they are moist and gravelly, squishing between the fingers and cooling warm hands and arms. Much to my mother’s dismay it was my favorite way to play by myself on hot summer days.

 I had a favorite mud hole between my father’s greenhouses and cold-frames. It was a hidden place where the water-line had a slow continuous leak and was partially shaded by multi-trunked weed trees growing within the chain-link fence. A small pile of discarded wood had been pushed in and around the scrubby trees. There was enough of these moss covered boards so that when I sat on them they came just below my knees. This allowed my toes to squish into the edge of the mud as I leaned between my legs to work the water deeper into the soil.

The mud would soon thicken into a slippery mass as I kneaded it. This particular puddle had just the right amount of clay to hold together the soft rotting sticks and leaves. I would squish and squeeze the cool muck, sometimes getting squirted as it oozed between my fingers. Then, when the consistency was just right, being smooth and firm, I would create more than just a pie.

I would make little fairy dishes of cups and saucers, and for the bowls pick moss from the boards and place it inside so they looked to be filled with a salad. Sometimes I would form little animals like dogs or mice. My favorite mud creatures to make were turtles. I would draw patterns on their backs, adding tiny pebbles to accentuate the designs. Talking to myself, and to my little creations, whiled away many a childhood afternoon in a delightful self-absorbed way.

I have always believed that God plays and have often wondered about God playing in the mud. He too must have liked playing this way because He took the water and the clay and squished it around and formed a person. Now God being God could have just willed us into existence, according to Sister Mary Martin, but instead shaped us with a potter’s hand.

In my childhood mind, God played in the dirt just like me. I’m sure He too made silly things, some of which He brought to life. Funny little sea creatures like the puffer fish, geoduck, or a sea-horse, and how did he ever imagine a star-nosed mole or a platypus!

God delighted in creating, in gardens and growing things, and in sharing what He made. He made us in his own image and instilled in us ways to be joyful, and that includes silliness too.

I pray to do better next week…

 

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