Friday, May 15, 2009
The Spirituality of Dirt
By Joy Wallace
Dirt . . .I love it. I can’t think of a better way to spend a warm, sunny afternoon than sitting in my garden pulling weeds. I call these precious moments, “dirt therapy”.
Sitting on the grass before flowers, or on dirt preparing it for vegetable seeds, is a spiritual experience. I hear the birds. I laugh at the neighborhood crow that comes to see what I’m doing, and to look for tidbits to eat. I hear the wind drifting through the trees, and feel the warm air on my face. I hear the little children who live on my block, playing outside with one another. Somewhere down the block, I hear a lawnmower and am surrounded by the delicious smell of fresh cut grass. Along with grass, I smell the mixed fragrance of multiple kinds of spring flowers. (Spring in Oregon smells SO good. When I lived in Vermont, the smell of Oregon spring was one thing I really missed.)
Dirt therapy reminds me to slow down and to be present in the moment. Without this pause, I can miss so many of the little blessings that surround me.
Dirt therapy reminds me to be patient. From the very early moments of spring when the first green plants push through the soil to autumn when all the leaves die, there is a constant progression of change. New plants appear and grow. New flowers bloom to fullness. Trees fill with blossoms, and then become laden with fruit. Berry bushes add growth, bloom and burst forth with berries that are offered to humans and birds. This call to patience reminds me that the cycle of resurrection is never-ending. We are constantly offered a cycle of endings and new beginnings … in my garden and in my life.
Dirt therapy keeps me connected to the earth. Gardening affords me the opportunity to care for a tiny piece of the earth. Together, the earth and I work to bring food to the table, the beauty of flowers for the enjoyment of all and an environment for animals and insects.