As I’ve been observing how things are growing this year I am often reminded of the concept of covering. With both the Back To Eden gardening methods and holistic & restorative agricultural practices there has been a steady stream of complementary messages. One message is that “nature abhors naked soil”.
If nature is how we describe and relate to creation and the structure & order Hashem created our world to thrive within, then we understand that nature abhoring naked soil has a deeper principle.
When soil is left uncovered it sprouts weeds, opportunistic little plants that seem to come from nowhere. They thrive in the uncovered and disturbed soil. Some of these weeds have no good use and can be toxic. Yet many that sprout up in healthy yet disturbed soil have a multitude of beneficial uses. Nature is trying to quickly cover and restore the uncovered soil by sprouting “weeds” where the grass has been killed or removed. The purpose of these “weeds” is to quickly provide a covering for the soil and maintain life.
When the toxic and undesirable plants sprout up and are not removed, they will choke out the beneficial plants and thrive in the uncovered soil. Once they are established, they are often the most difficult to get rid of. Consider the one small batch of buttercup. These plants are not good for medicine or for grazing, these are true weeds.
Often times the more beneficial “weeds” will not choke out the grass if it will try to re-establish itself here, they can grow together until the grass takes over. Consider the chamomile here that is delicate and does not choke out the grass.
When soil is left uncovered and disturbed for too long, it dies. The microbiology and macrobiology contained in the exposed soil moves deeper down and leaves a dead and dry crust where nothing will grow. This soil can be revitalized, but it will first require that it be covered with something that will restore life to the soil – mulch. Covering the soil in an improper way, such as with plastic, will only further squelch any potential life out of the soil.
I’ve been intrigued by my observations about a particular patch of “weeds” that have sprouted up at a previously worn out and dead high traffic area at our new hay barn. This area was covered with a heavy layer of fresh wood chips last fall when we completed construction of the barn addition, and just a few weeks ago the chickens scratched away the wood chips and exposed the soil closest to the new barn as they were hunting for bugs and worms. On the opposite end of the mulch from the barn is where the the wood chips blended in with the existing grass and there are other “weeds” growing there, too. One side sprouted plants known medicinally for their soothing properties while on the other side thrives plants known medicinally for their purifying and toxin-pulling properties. Where the wood chips (or mulch) is deepest there is moisture just below the surface and only a little further down there is new soil being created and worms, bugs, and tiny microbes that our eyes cannot see. Healing this spot by covering it with natural mulch and letting it rest has indeed begun to restore life to this location where “nature” seems to be providing healing where the disturbances have been.
Compare this spot to a nearby patch of lifeless soil, uncovered and unprotected. Not even weeds grow here.
The spiritual applications to this observation are abundant, and I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about this observation of the created order of both our world and our spiritual lives. If you care to share your thoughts, we’d love to “hear” them in the comment section below.