Dirt in My DNA

The supposedly friendly ringtone for the Bedtime app on my phone went off at 5:15 a.m. while I was in the middle of a dream.  I hit snooze wanting to sort back to reality and my first take was, “I’m too tired.  Definitely not.”  Hit snooze the second time.

My better self thought, “Omigosh I want to do yoga this morning because I missed it yesterday due to that crazy Fosomax stuff I take on Fridays, because they both begin with an F.  I rallied.

Green tea steeping and me on the mat.  Still feeling out of sorts, but moving, stretching…and meditated.  I had an appointment to be one of the many presenters at our school district’s Academic Fair so I got ready, packed and headed out.

The morning was cool and cloudy, with that feeling that if it rained everything would relax.  It was grey and the sort of morning, I thought, when parents would do what I did, and hit the snooze, or just turn the alarm off.  Or, they’d dutifully get their kids to the first baseball tryouts and forget about us at the Academic Fair.

But parents did come in, and brought their kids with them and I enjoyed work-shopping with them around their questions about reading and writing.  And I got to use Matt de la Pena’s Last Stop on Market for the read aloud, and we were all happy when it ended.

I drove home feeling that pull, that physical dullness that had flattened me on Friday night.  And it felt like nap weather.

But I had an appointment with myself to put on grubbies, and between the rain showers, work in the front yard, continuing the weeding and trimming.  I can still see the clods of topsoil coming up with the oxalis which I was pulling out by the fistfulls and chucking into the waiting wheelbarrow by the sidewalk.  The dark soil, the pale lime green shoots and stems…the crunch of slightly composted leaves from fall…

All of a sudden I was genuinely happy.  It surprised me.  “Why does working like a dog in the dirt bring me joy?” I wondered.  Knowing a bit about my Scot geneology on my father’s side, I own that dirt is in my DNA.  Farmers, orators and tough people who traveled to new places, earned the money to buy land and worked hard to make it produce.  They were also orators, preachers on horseback, with a few artists thrown in there.  So, yes, gardening is therapy for me.  It connects me.  The cleaned up yard, the order satisfies me and I know that the spring leafing out will look good.

But I think that happiness was about something else too.  I was finally getting to do just exactly what I wanted, and that felt nice.  Like it was my free choice and my time.  So many weekends even have been committed to events and the work week sure doesn’t afford me much unstructured time.

So, I was weeding and digging it. And pruning another bush back, admiring my artistry.  And the cool, quiet afternoon stayed the same time all day, with only a few neighbors walking dogs by and no interruptions.

I realize there is something aesthetic about gardening and urban farming that I forgot over winter.  Healthy plant life is clean and vibrant, and wonderfully designed.


One thought on “Dirt in My DNA”

  1. Dirt in my DNA, too. I think you nailed it when you connected “free choice” time to a happy feeling. So much of our time is committed. A little free, unstructured time is good!! You made me want to get outside too!

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