To Mulch

Today, I mulched. I mean, I really mulched. I mulched for hours. It involved a wheelbarrow, pitchfork, and a big pile of mulch.

Mulch is a fun word to say. Mulch.

As a verb, to mulch simply means to treat or cover an area of the ground with some material (grass clippings, shredded bark, wood chips, sawdust, cardboard) in order to provide some wonderful benefits. In my vegetable garden (the one I weeded for days), I used cardboard and then a layer of triple-shredded brown mulch.

I prayed while I mulched. I talked to God about racism, about all the pain and protests in so many cities, and about how to become part of the solution to end racism. I prayed for my children. I prayed for whatever came to mind.

I worked until I couldn’t anymore. For a writer like myself, manual labor provides a special blessing of a different kind of work. It’s exhausting in a completely different way—physically and not mentally. I felt good to feel so tired.

I could pray because my mind was free to do so.

It occurred to me later that prayer is like mulching the heart. It’s a protective layer, a barrier against cynicism and hopelessness or apathy. It’s a covering. For a gardener, mulch keeps your soil moist and cool. It helps prevent weeds. It keeps pests and diseases away. It builds the soil’s health as it decomposes. And it’s also beautiful.

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