Amending the Soil


A few years ago I had a big moss problem in my yard. I live north of Seattle, so moss is hardly a surprise. But it was taking over the yard to the degree that the grass could no longer grow. My eighty-five year old neighbor came over the the hedge between our properties. He told me that I don’t have a moss problem. I have a soil PH problem.

I got a power rake, and took out most of the moss. Then I added lime to the soil. The grass began to grow again and the moss did not return. I amend the soil every year now.

We have a soil problem in our society. We are lonely. Groups are isolated from one another.

In this soil of loneliness and isolation, anxiety, exclusive in-grouping, dehumanization, and violence are growing.

We need to amend our soil by amending our actions, and making amends to each other.

In Skagit County we are doing this through Let’s Go Together. We are bringing over 70 people of diverse cultures and traditions together to know each other, share food, do service projects and honor each other in public.

Across the nation, with our partners at Seattle University’s Center for Ecumencical and Interreligious Engagement, we are promoting our Potluck for Democracy toolkit. It is time for community groups, churches, mosques, temples and other civic organizations to bring people – the “demos” in democracy – together.

We must understand that our power in this moment is to relate to each other in public.

When we do, it will not only make us feel and grow better, it serves as a symbol that we can choose a different path. Together, we can both make amends and amend the soil of our uncivil civic life.

If we do, we will enjoy growing with each other year over year.