Sunflower State

Sunflower State

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

For the Beauty of the Earth: Earth Day 2019

A neighbor burned off a pasture last Friday night. It was Good Friday. Though I'd hoped to be able to go to the community worship service, the supper schedule during this busy corn planting time didn't work out, and I needed to stay closer to home. 
When Randy quit for the night, we drove south to check out the burn. It was a calm, quiet night, and even half a mile away, we could hear the crackle of flames as they burned through the dry, brittle grasses left behind after winter.
Photo from our 2012 burn, showing the charred ground left behind.
Though you couldn't see the scorched earth until the next day, it looked charred and lifeless in the light of day.

I couldn't help thinking of the first Good Friday, as Christ hung on the cross, when things looked bleak and without hope. But there's a reason that farmers and ranchers complete controlled burns on pasture lands. The burned vegetation will give away to new green growth in a few weeks' time. The native grasses will return to increased vigor and life.
New growth after a burn we did in 2012.
Earth Day fell the day after Easter this year. And as we hauled a group of cows and calves to the Ninnescah pasture Monday morning, I kept thinking about the timing.
Ninnescah Pasture - April 22, 2019 - Earth Day
Eastertide is a season to rejoice, and discern what Christ’s Resurrection means for believers today. Amid that celebration this year is Earth Day, the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in the U.S. It's been observed each year on April 22 since 1970, and it just happened to coincide with Easter this calendar year.
The first job description God gave to humans was to till and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). Later, God commanded them to care for the animals He'd created. American farmers and ranchers do that every day - not just on Earth Day.

As we worked, I kept thinking of the words to a favorite hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth. And I mentally thought of the thousands of snapshots I have taken that illustrate the beauty of this Earth, most taken near this little slice of creation on the Stafford/Reno County line. Here are just a few of them:
For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
 Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
 For the beauty of each hour

Of the day 
and of the night
Hill and vale
and tree and flower
Sun and moon
and stars of light.

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

So the work to care for God's creation will continue on this day after Earth Day, too. Our families have been doing that for five generations.


  1. I spent Easter by myself on the 'Family Farm' 2 hours south of where I live. My solitude was a time for reflecton and joy in the beauty of nature and for the pioneers [my Great Grandfather and Grandfather who tilled the soil here over 100 years ago. I gave thanks for the miracle rain brings. In January hardly a blade of grass was alive. The green on this visit, left me mesmerised.

    1. I'm so glad you've gotten some rain. It's always a challenge to get it at the right time. I know you appreciate your farming heritage, just like I do. We are fortunate to have it in our blood.