My lawn has struggled for the last couple years.
There are patches where it's just dirt. There aren't even weeds. It's just a 20 by 20 natural sand box. The soil isn't great. It gets washed out with even a weak rain. It's trampled upon whenever I have to saw and split wood. There are probably other ecological reasons that I'm unaware of, but all I know is that I've tried to plant grass there each year for three years and nothin'.
As I was watering it yesterday I got to thinking. You can't reap what you don't sow, right? But that's not the issue here. I purchase the seed and I'm smart enough to sow it liberally where it's barren. So it must be something with the soil. I'm not blaming the soil, quite the contrary. I wonder if I'm missing a pretty important step as it relates to the dirt I'm futility propagating seed on year after year.
One thing that I'm taking shortcuts on is the cultivation part. I rake it out to the best of my ability plunging the teeth as deep as I can, but in the end I think I'm just scratching some marks on the surface and hoping the seed will find a grove and throw down some roots. Pretty please?
I need to get out a rototiller and turn over the ground, but I don't have one and I didn't want to try to find one. Long story short, I wanted to make the longer story shorter. I didn't want to take the time to do it right. I wanted to do the most I could in the shortest duration of time. (there is often a correlation between duration and curation) I don't know when I'm going to realize that it's not working, and if I add all the years of shortsighted labor I'll discover that I've actually spent more time over the long haul. "Measure twice, cut once" type a thing...just a different metaphor.
Another thing I've realized as I've watered the lawn twice a day for the last 7 days is that it's very clearly sand. I probably need to bring in top soil or mix in some peat moss, but again, I don't want to take the time or spend the money. But there's something funny about the money aspect of this cyclical nightmare. I keep buying a big bag of expensive seed each year and this year I even invested in a few bails of straw and a little thingy to broadcast the seed evenly on the surface of my yard (rather, lack of yard). All for nothing.
The seed and the sowing aren't the problem.
It's the doggone soil. It's not prepared. It's not been cultivated. It's not been fertilized. It's not been mixed properly. It's not even soil in the deepest sense of the word...it's sand. You've heard that you can't build your house on the sand, well, it just so happens you can't plant your grass on it either. Unless you get that special quack grass that grows in deserts. Ain't nobody got time for that! So it's the soil, idiot!
It's almost always the soil.
I've learned over my life that I've had seed sown into me beyond what I deserve. Gobs of it. I swallow up seed like it's my job. I can't get enough. Whenever I'm struggling, I think it's a seed issue...I need more seed! I need someone to sow it into me...where are the people who are sowing into my life? But it's all a ruse to confuse the real problem. It's the soil of my soul that I should be looking at and addressing. It's often not cultivated to absorb what's sown day in and day out. When the seeds of truth and wisdom and blessing are broadcast over my heart, it's not the lack of water or sun or shade that's to blame. It's not that the sower is skimpy on the spread. It's that I'm not ready to receive it. I've not prepared my soul for the seed. It's too hard or too sandy. It's too dry sometimes for lack of water, or worse, it's too wet because I'm waterlogged with so much faith that I'm already not exercising. There's no room for more seed cause I'm not doing what I need to do by way of discipline to give yesterday's seed a chance at growth. What makes me think more seed will solve the problem?
I need to do the hard thing in my yard and I need to do the hard thing in my heart.
I have to take stock of the soil that God is working with and ask myself, "What do I need to do to make this soil ready for seed?" And when God tells me, I gotta put in the work. I can't just hope next year will be different than this year. It may take some time, some money, and some sweat, but in the end I'll stop wasting all those things every year and start enjoying growth instead ignorantly expecting it. The expectation of growth without the perspiration of gardening is ludicrous.
I hate when it takes years to realize that all of my framing of the story and then blaming in the story is a complete bucket of hogwash.