Today’s find: Clodhopper

Day 47 of “shelter-in-place”: in which “side yard” becomes “garden plot.” And it becomes apparent to the Little One that he has lost his footing.

We hear there’s some serious soil-turning going on at our daughter’s place this week – as she and her dear hubby begin the process of planting a substantial vegetable garden.

Big Brother is diggin’ all this freshly-turned dirt.


We know this, because Daughter provided a brief video of our grandsons exploring the freshly-tilled dirt on one side of the plot…while her Hubby continued his soil-prep work on the other side.

The 35-second video shows Big Brother in hog-heaven all the while. He’s running around kicking clods with glee, thoroughly energized by the sound of the roto-tiller whining and grinding and roaring just off the screen, several yards away.

Younger brother, on the other hand, didn’t seem to find things quite as entertaining. Just 20 months old, the Little Guy is experiencing unsettled ground beneath his feet for the first time in his life. So he never looks up as he totters and wobbles along – and nine different times in the brief clip, you can hear him bleat “Dada” or “Mama.”

I wouldn’t say he’s frightened, exactly. But he’s definitely weirded out by the whole scene. And why not? Just yesterday, after all, this very ground provided solid footing for his outdoor adventures. But now, things are inexplicably different: Make a wrong move on this turf, or walk a bit too fast, and you can wind up eating dirt.

The Little Guy, on the other hand, prefers to carefully review this strange turn of events.


As Day 47 of the great Covid-19 Shutdown dawned, it occurred to me that I have a lot in common with the Little Guy. I’ve been bleating quite a bit myself of late – trying to make sense of a situation that is utterly new and intimidatingly beyond my control.

I make my pleas not to “Dada” or “Mama”, of course, but to “Abba.” On some level, I believe (as Jesus taught us) that God does have good things in mind for me; indeed, for all of us. But in truth my faith has been shaken by my experience of this new (and no longer reliable) landscape.

As I ponder this solidarity…the fretful spirit shared by Gramps and Grandson as they both tread upon uncertain ground…I wonder whether it might provide a useful lesson to an old clodhopper like me.

A lesson such as this, perhaps: Disruption is necessary. The soil must be tilled…in order for new and fruitful things to set down roots and grow.

In fact, we keep hearing about this very process in Mass readings throughout the Easter season. Even today, the passage from Acts reassures us that something beyond our reach is happening:

The word of God continued to spread and grow.

And I think I detect a whisper from the Holy Spirit in my heart — that it certainly won’t help move things along if I insist on dragging my feet. But man, is it ever hard to see exactly where this path might lead…and when.

That’s why an Old Clodhopper keeps praying, I suppose. I do believe that you are the Way and the Light, O sweet Jesus…O Risen Lord! Help my unbelief. Amen, Alleluia!


Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.


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