Apr 12, 2007

Dirt Therapy

I've said it before, and so I shan't go into it in any great depth here, but there is something in me that yearns to have dirt under my fingernails, the sun on my shoulders. Some bit of me needs to stand in a row and watch green things stretch up to the sun under my attention.

Post-surgery I could not get out into my garden, nor could I ride Betty. (That'd be the bike, you mooks, not the Mrs., though it's true there, too.) The non-riding was bothering me, but the weather has been less than clement, so it wasn't as hard to deal with as not being in my garden. Betty is dirty with pollen and dust, but my garden was languishing under it's weight in weeds.

I knew things were still growing out there because I left them there growing Tuesday afternoon a week past. I knew weeds were growing, and fire ants (the unbeatable foe in this garden for some reason) were growing, and I wasn't there to keep an eye on things. I couldn't weed, couldn't hoe, and couldn't plant. I couldn't gently and steadily oversee the barely reined-in chaos that is a garden sitting out there in Nature. And honestly it was really honestly getting under my skin. My walking was still a queasy-making hobble, I was still bleeding with some regularity, and I was ready to weep because I could not get to my dirt therapy.

I'm starting to feel like Hera's hero, he who drew his power and strength from the earth. As long as his feet were on the ground he could draw pure strength from the earth, but once he lost contact with the dirt he was powerless. Well, I was feeling like Hercules had his hands in my ribs and my arse and was holding me clear of my garden, and damnit I was getting tired of it! Some people pay therapists for their mental balance, some people drink or snort themselves into insensibility. Me, I dig in the dirt, and I was away from it.

My reward finally came the day before yesterday, almost a week after the surgery. I was finally well enough to stand upright, walk a distance, and bend over with some ease, so the first thing I did after work? I weeded. Boy did I. I weeded like a madman for...well, all of fifteen minutes, then headed back inside because I was afraid I'd develop what the Bible euphemistically calls "an issue of blood." My sitz bath was calling, and I was heeding that call all up and down.

But like everything, my condition improved with time. Yesterday afternoon I was greeted with the words "I knew I'd find you out here," spoken as I leaned on my hoe, smiling at a row of steadily growing English peas; each and every one a pale green struggle for the fence just above their easy reach. And today improved further--another hour spent out in my brown and green heaven, and a fair bit of that time was spent behind my tiller, so I know I'm officially back in the saddle again. A double-height row appeared magically (well, okay, it appeared after an hour of tilling and raking and leveling,) all ready to receive some canteloupe seedlings. The wound is still there, I'm still sitting a little crooked once in a while, but when I take my shower the floor tiles under my feet turn brown for a moment as the water runs off me, and so mentally I am back where I need to be.



Scott from Oregon said...

Well, something in my butt has never stopped me from getting dirt beneath the nails, and for this, I am very thankful.

I too, am healed and solaced and made sore and dark brown by the love of the growing season.

I just wish Oregon was better suited to my desires....

Irrelephant said...

Scott, I was curious about that--are you west of the mountains, or east? I've never journeyed to the right side of Oregon, but I hear it's a massive desert, filled with gargantuan man-eating sand worms and tribes of fierce hippies who make periodic raids into the fertile west, to obtain water and food and women. If you're living on that side I can imagine that any gardening plans you might have would be strained at best.

Scott from Oregon said...

I'm just over the California border, about forty minutes in from the coast. We get hot enough summers, but the soil here is full of either magnesium or manganese ( I forget which) and nothing good ever grows.

I'm from Luther Burbank's "chosen spot of all the earth" where I could actually grow ten foot tomato plants covered in tomatoes...

Vulgar Wizard said...

Dibs on the seventh cucumber!