The Manure Pile

Every day this month I’ve walked the same road, past the cow barns, over a little stream, and up the cracked pavement lined with spruces on either side. This morning there’s something new—a ridge of manure lines the side of the hill, bright sun melting the frost from its lumpy mounds. The field is traced with stubble, pale and brittle, guarded by a stand of poplars, bare and rattling like bones in the wind.

I pull my hood up to stay warm. I’m breathing heavier now, trying to keep my pace up this hill. Beside me, the ditch is a jumble of empty beer cans, torn plastic and bushwhacked branches. The rosebush I loved so much was completely hacked down by a highway mower last fall. What’s left looks like barbed wire poking up from a battlefield.

If I didn’t know what was next, this might be the saddest road I’ve ever known. If I didn’t know what was next, the clear blue sky would seem a mockery of the frozen, brown valley below.

But the birds are singing up in the heavens, singing right down through the thin ice on the puddles, down through the dirty April snow and endless mud. There are things happening below the surface that I cannot see.

If all I knew was winter, would I know to hope for spring?

But even that manure pile, a whole barn’s worth of stinking winter refuse, is in on the secret. It’s about to be the secret, an unlikely gospel spread on an open field.

Spring begins in the mud and ditches. Spring begins when all we deem worthless and rotten is left long enough to transform. Spring begins with a whole lot of mess flung out in hope.

If I had never known resurrection, death would be the saddest reality of all.

But I’ve walked this road enough springs to know how manure works. I’ve seen it in these fields and I’ve seen it in my heart—the stink and death I’ve given over to God turned into fertile ground for something new and green and beautiful.

On the way back home, I bend my body into the north wind, the last icy gasp of winter. But my ears are full of bird song and I flash my biggest smile at that giant heap of spring manure.


This is a piece I shared recently at a local women’s event exploring the presence of God in our own stories. I love helping others see God at work in the pages of their lives—in the big, the small, the extraordinary and the mundane. With friend and fellow writer Erin Evans, we are offering this unique event to churches and women’s groups in Prince Edward Island and the Halifax area. For more information on Your Story, God’s Glory, click here.

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Lindsey Gallant
A northern girl living the island life. Follower of Jesus. Writer, book nerd, nature lover. Homeschool mom and Charlotte Mason enthusiast. Prefers pen and paper.


  1. So good and so fitting Lindsey, I loved reading this. As a farm girl who is farming still, I get it. As someone who has a lot of manure in my heart and in my past, I hear you. Thanks so much for sharing this, it was just what I needed to hear.

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