Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Sawdust Trail

SOURCE:  Mouw, Richard.  The Smell of Sawdust.  Zondervan Publishing House:  Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2000. P9

I have long assumed that the main reason for the sawdust in the revival tents was to keep things from getting too muddy—and it surely did serve this function.  But recently I discovered that the image of a sawdust trail also has an important metaphorical meaning derived from the nineteenth-century lumber camps.  When lumberjacks got lost in the woods, they would walk in various directions until they found sawdust on the ground.  Then they would follow the sawdust trail back to a place of safety.  The evangelist Billy Sunday knew of this practice and he used the image in calling sinners to follow the sawdust trail to a place of spiritual safety.

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