For whomever might find it useful ... here is an essay of mine published in the Concordia Theological Quarterly last year (Vol. 75, 180-183). The CTQ publishes on its own peculiar schedule so it came out in September in the middle of the Pentecost season.
The article connects the first chapters of the Book of Genesis and the role soil and dirt plays there with the application of ashes at the beginning of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is the story of a marriage. It is the account of an unlikely union. Humanity and the soil are the improbable partners. The tale of these Ash Wednesday nuptials stretches back to Genesis, chapters two through eight. The earth is the silent but crucial character in these opening chapters. The key to each of these stories and the key to Ash Wednesday is the dirt.