Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blowin' in the Wind: St. Francis and the Law(n) of the Lord...

(Blowin’ in the Wind is a regular feature on my blog consisting of an assortment of nature writings – hymns, songs, excerpts, prayers, Bible readings, poems or other things – pieces I may not have written but that inspire me or have given me joy. I trust they will do the same for you.)

In the traditions of church history, the month of October includes what is called the Feast Day of St. Francis. I guess all the saints get a Feast Day, but I am not certain how all that works; for me, that would be Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve… At any rate, as I have written before, Francis of Assisi was an Italian monk of the 13th Century, the founder of the Franciscan Order (The Order of Friars Minor), the patron saint of the environment, and one of my heroes of the faith.

So, with a shout out to St. Francis this month, here’s something I ran across years ago, for which I have no recollection of the source:

A Conversation Between God and St. Francis of Assisi…

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the USA? What happened to the wildflowers and grasses I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord, the city and rural dwellers and the suburbanites, the whole lot of ‘em. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with one kind of grass.

GOD: One grass only? But that would be so boring. It's not multi-colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these people really want just grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: Too bad! The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make them happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay for their animals?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Oh my Me! Now, let Me get this straight: they fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.

GOD: These folks must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stoke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. They seem to have done it again. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something that they call
mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this ‘mulch?’
(Not our lawn!)

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make it.

GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. What a strange race. St. Cate, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for our entertainment tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie they’ve made down there about...

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Frank.

~~RGM, October 16, 2014

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