“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the Earth” — Matthew 5:5 (KJV)
This is what Jesus says. He fails to mention anything specifically about mud.
As a city dweller, allow me to add this proverb from my own heart — he who inherits the earth inherits the mud.
One of my favorite high-calorie drinks used to be called a Mississippi mudslide. I know now why they call it a Mississippi mudslide, as opposed to, say, a Connecticut mud slide.
Mississippi has a lot of mud. New York City, thanks to a whole lot of concrete, has only limited amounts of mud. The only time I ever had to consider wiping my shoes off from a walk through the city was when I was in Central Park. I remember one subway ride in Queens in the early 1990s — I saw a girl with tattoos on her arms, a nose ring, and a pair of doc martin knee-high boots absolutely covered with mud, and I knew instantly where she had just been.
I leaned across the car and asked her, “How was Woodstock?”
She leaned back smiling, glad I understood, and said, “Green Day was awesome!”
No other imaginable occasion would have created such a mess on her shoes.
Today, my Ugg boots are covered with mud. the bottoms of my jeans are muddy. There are little muddy paw prints on the loveseat in my living room.
I scrub, but mud returns. There seems to be no end to mud.
I have tried to embrace the ethos of mud – - it is, after all, where life happens. No mud — no agriculture — no agriculture — no salad — no salad — no chi-chi brunches. Heaven forefend.
I saw a picture in the New York Times of Michele Obama on her knees in mud digging to make an organic garden. She was wearing a cute navy cardigan, as I recall. I told myself that this was going to be part of our lifestyle here in Mississippi, the growing of at least a few herbs and tomatoes. Nothing could be more wholesome than that, I thought. Fortunately, my husband is not as squeamish about mud than I am. I have discovered, to my city girl horror, that mud ruins a manicure. I need gloves. I need knee pads. I admit it. When it comes to mud, I’m a wimp.
I thought to myself, post mud-phobia discovery, that I was going to create an outdoor room. When I met my husband, he was living in our house with a male roommate, and the two of them had some beat-up old plastic chairs and a charcoal grill. Otherwise, it was mostly mosquitoes and last night’s beer cans. I would be like those intrepid folks on HGTV and create a true outdoor space. I bought a gazebo with matching chairs and a table. The gazebo is basically a canvas tent with mosquito netting. I bought a propane grill. Now we were getting someplace, I thought. I even negotiated free delivery of my purchases.
The next day the store came with a forklift. When they drove the forklift all over my new back yard, bringing gazebos and grills, they got stuck in the mud and tore up the turf. I was left with some unassembled items and a bunch of tire tracks on the ground.
Martha Stewart says to get a metal rake, some grass seed, and plant to patch up such disasters. I trust Martha Stewart, insider trading and obsessive-compulsive disorder notwithstanding. I like the image of myself looking like her in garden gloves, garden clogs, coordinated pastels and khakis, holding a metal rake with a hopeful smile. I thought I would give it a try.
Then, it snowed the largest snowstorm the South has seen in years. The photo above is from my back yard — the quaint little barn covered with white icing — that’s mine. Even the tire tracks left by the forklift look lovely under the frothy white.
Then, in a day or so, the snow melted, leaving more mud.
Now I am thinking that gravel is my best hope, gravel and flagstones. Maybe a little fire pit.
My step-daughter and her fiance inform me that the region has a leisure that embraces the savagery of what I consider a problem to be tamed. It’s called “mudding.” Those SUV commercials we in the urban North have seen, where SUVs are off-road and brave their way through gallons of muck, well, that’s considered a fun thing to do. The point, I am told, is to get as muddy as possible without getting stuck.
Mudding increases one’s carbon footprint, I am sure. However, now saving the Earth, the mud, doesn’t seem like a purely good idea. Green or not, it may be that the mud had mudding coming, with all it does to provoke us to wrath.