We’ve Got To Stop Treating The Soil Like Dirt

We’ve Got to Stop Treating the Soil Like Dirt
Bret Hesla © 1990

I had a dream last night I want to tell you about.
If it gets a little heavy, I hope you don’t walk out.
You see death came knocking upon my door.
So I went to be with loved ones who’ve gone before.

Yes, I dreamed I died, went to heaven’s gate.
I didn’t see St. Peter so I had to wait.
Thinking over my life, what I would change,
When I noticed that this paradise was mighty strange.

No pearly gates, no golden urns.
Just a lot of little roots, and a whole lot of worms.
Then I realized this wasn’t heaven or hell.
I just died and they put my body back in the soil.

Then I began to rot and disappear.
And I thought to myself, “There’s nothing to fear.
I’m just falling apart into the land I love.
Giving life to the plants that are growing above.”

I went back in the land, back in the ground.
I went to little pieces in a total breakdown.
I was a part of the soil, a part of the earth,
A part of the mother of my birth.

Then I heard a pounding noise and a stake came down.
And I heard a voice say, “I own this ground.”
And I yelled back, “You’re full of it pal.
You’re full of little pieces that came out of the soil.

And pieces of air and water, too.
That traveled through the plants until they came into you
By way of the spinach, the carrots, the cows.
They entered your body from your hand to your mouth.”

It’s just like Chief Seattle said,
“It don’t belong to us we belong to it.”
It gives us life, it makes us strong.
It’s where we’ll all be buried when the circle turns round.

Now I would have kept talking. I was on a roll.
But the wind came whipping up and started to blow.
Or it might have been the rain, I’m not sure which it was
That carried about a third of me into the ditch.

Then a part of me was sold for cash
And used as a dump for trash.
And I wondered if the rest of me, like as not, would be
Permanently covered with a parking lot.

I woke up a little short of breath.
Could it be because I was afraid of death?
Yes, I was a little scared and mighty glad
This was not reality — it was a dream I had.

Life could be a dream. Death could be swell.
It’s up to human beings if it’s heaven or hell.
So let’s tell the truth until it hurts —
We’ve got to stop treating the soil like dirt! (3x)

You say, “It’s not my problem, it’s not my land.
There isn’t any mud or blood on these two hands.
That’s right,” you say, “Erosion is a shame.
Now excuse me while I watch another football game.”

Fine.
Just remember next time soil’s blowing around,
That might be my grandma or your best friend’s mom.
Or you might wonder if
It’s a part of your pedigree making a drift.

Filing up ditches, filling up streams.
Make Louisiana bigger while the heartland shrinks.
The soil gets thin, the land paved under.
We’re losing all our relatives and left with hunger.

Can we really survive, yes, just say NO
To the two big problems. One is war.
You ask what the other problem is my friend?
The answer to that is blowing in the wind.

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