Joy of Dirt
This is too short to be a self help book, so consider it an inspirational Barbie Channel comments with hearts dotting the “i’s,” sagacious musing and kittens.
As a young man I took the advice of the 1850s and went west. It is an enchanting place with something I had rarely appreciated before, a sky. The world here feels so commodious and open.
In the farming flatlands I left, we had a sky up above the houses and trees. You could crane your neck and yuppers. There it was. It was more omnipresent in the country where the trees had been felled to make room for mile after mile after mile after mile of corn fields. If you stood on a cinderblock and craned your neck to enjoy your commune with nature, it was there. Nobody much left the village. The John deer dealership on the edge of town held more visual allure.
I promised myself I would never tire of the beauty of my adopted sanctuary. I have kept that promise. I get out everyday. The dog pack and the doctor agree my daily romp in the foothills is a good thing. I find, however, that I no longer take my stride in stride and my steps have grown short and insecure. They have become more of a nursing home baby step shuffle. Approaching irregularities, rocks, pebbles, fallen branch or exposed juniper root can spell disaster.
This has meant a shift in focus. The sky and the distant mountains are still there, but my concern is on the dirt. When Life gives me lemons, I ask my friends to bring salt and tequila. There is joy in the dirt.
We get mad, pelting rainstorms in the high desert. This infrequent event falls on land so dry, it seems Scotchguarded, water repellant. The hills run. For the next few days delightful multicolored patterns show the water trail. Next time it comes I promise to take the camera.
Some of our fauna is tiny and fragile. There are several areas we traverse with Horny Toad colonies. Not even the dogs notice them. I do.
There are Tarantulas and the most delightful clumps of subtle wildflowers.
At the risk of shocking many, I need to come out to you all as a Pebblephile. The rocks and pebbles here are so varied and lovely I used to come home with pockets so full my pants sagged low enough to make me look modern. I have quite a collection of quartz and granite and petrified wood. These days I find they are disturbingly too far down there to collect. I enjoy them where they lay.
Afternoons the dogs and I sit on the swing and remember the sky. I sure love where I live. I always hope the rest of you have that as well.
Next week: Claw foot bathtubs. Charming or hard to clean under?