Paris Goodnight: What exactly is lurking underneath?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2022

Good Lord willing, and the creeks don’t rise, I’m planning to be at a sunrise service this morning, maybe the first one ever at the Bell Tower Green but more likely at Grace Lutheran Church where I’ve enjoyed watching the sun come up before.

My uncle from Woodleaf was the first I heard use that phrase about the creeks rising, noting that no one ever knows exactly what is in store even though we lay out all sorts of plans. We put our faith in the Good Lord to direct us and get us where we need to be, in the short term or for the long haul, and then the rest of the paths we end up on are mostly  of our own choice.

We don’t have to worry much about getting across a swollen creek these days, but we can’t just assume everything is going to work out exactly as planned every time either.

When I mentioned the Far Side cartoons last week, it was really one in particular that always stood out to me and was actually up on a framed poster at my house in Kannapolis. A small bug is lounging on a leaf looking up at the sky and saying, “Ah, life.” All the while, underneath him and unbeknownst to him is the big eye of the largest bug-eating critter you’d ever want to see — the idea being it all looks rosy from perched on high, but who knows what trouble lurks beneath.

Underneath the garden spot I’ve dug in for years, such a troubling thing turned up this year when I was moving a little dirt around. A root that’s apparently been growing there for years was just under the surface, but I never saw any evidence of it until this year when my shovel hit it — maybe it got a lot bigger quickly. It’s likely as thick as my arm, or maybe leg, and not very far under the topsoil.

It made me wonder about what other things might be lurking just under the surface that we don’t know about.

Who would’ve thought a little bug from China could have wreaked such havoc on us. Or what a Russian dictator could do to change the relative peace of the whole world.

But then again, if that root has been there the whole time, it never seemed to cause my green beans any trouble as they grew above. Maybe I’m just making too much of a mountain out of a little mole hill.

None us can go around worrying what might be around the next bend, or if some big bug is going to get us. It might be something little that proves to be the real trouble after all.

And as for what’s hidden under the surface, maybe some of that missing Confederate gold really is stashed away somewhere out in the backyard, or perhaps it’s some of that bubbling crude that got old Jed Clampett set up in Beverly Hills.

Sometimes even when you know what’s underneath, you can’t do anything about it. I don’t know for sure, but not far from where that root is growing bigger everyday in my backyard, I heard they buried a silo when our neighborhood was going in. There is a nice dip in a spot where the woods start just a little farther back. So I’ve got some pampas grass growing there and a little rock-circled fire pit, and if some metal is slowly rusting underneath, so be it.

Erma Bombeck used to say the grass is always greener over the septic tank. I don’t know if that’s really true, but I’ve got some black raspberry plants that grow just fine over the septic tank lines out back.

So even though I’ll never know just what all is hidden in the dirt or lurking around the next bend, I think I’ll just try to keep calm and dig on.

Paris Goodnight is interim editor of the Salisbury Post.