Wednesday, May 02, 2012

That it all may be

Today, I made dirt.

I know. My life is exactly that exciting. Wooooo! It’s better than Pay Day! It’s Dirt Day!

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Oh hai! We’re your new beds made up of masonry you got off Freecycle, that you wanted to put watermelons, okra, peppers and a Denizen-managed Gosh Knows What They’re Going To Do With It in today! BUT FIRST…you’re gonna need some fresh PLANTIN’ DIRT…

Finished compost
…which you get from here…

The Screen
…by way of this doohickey…

Siftings
…which sifts out all of THIS kind of stuff…

Finished Dirt
…and leaves you – TA DA! – dirt! Yay, dirt!...now, just do that about 62,781 times and you’ll be SET…

In related news, this is some of the most tiring, tedious and otherwise not my favorite jobs I inflict upon myself out there in the garden.

It’s downright monotonous, really.

Four shovels of Composty Matter…shake, stir, sift, shake, stir, sift…bang-bang-bang against the edge of the wheelbarrow…shake, stir, sift, shake, stir, sift…carry sifter to first compost bin so Composty Matter that didn’t, uh, compost enough can go to summer school…wheel the wheelbarrow wherever the dirt is wanted…lather, rinse, repeat…

It takes an awful lot of wheelbarrows to fill up new beds. It also takes an awful lot of them to refresh existing beds. And the other various containers.

Like these, for the Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

Tomatoes

Or these, for the container zucchini.

container zucchini
…you seek to CONTAIN us…? hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

It’s an excellent task for those times when thinking has become a kind of hell, the onslaught of ideas and memories and remember-this and forgot-that and what if and how about turn into a murder of crows inside my head – a party of one making enough noise for a party of a thousand, and I just really wish I’d shut the hell up for five seconds.

So much of life today is so intangible, really; I’m up to my eyebrows in things like insurance, pondering cash base versus accrual, dealing with various esteemed personages who regret to inform me that the form they told me to send was not the form I should have sent and required two more signatures anyway…fees and summer camps and music lessons and whether or not it is more or less economically/ecologically viable to use paper or plastic

All these Very Grownup Things frequently strike me as being…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. A pathetic attempt on the part of an increasingly spoiled race who, having largely removed the fear of being eaten by tigers or starving to death from their existence, needs must create new, equally-urgent and horrifying things to worry and pace themselves into an early grave over.

Sometimes, I think we were better off with the tigers and famine…they were quicker and more humane killers than our current poisons of obesity, inactivity, endless worry over ultimately nothing and constant striving to achieve amorphous somethings that never seem to be finished but always remain ever so SLIGHTLY out of our reach.

Do you have ANY IDEA how many carbon tennis shoes it took to print that receipt? Well, DO YOU?!?! You are worse than ten nuclear bombs, sixteen thousand vehicles AND all the cow farts of the Central Valley COMBINED, Mr. Yes I Would Like A Receipt…!!!!!

AND YET, however much I know that all these things are made up of nothing, that these weighty decisions are all equally likely to succeed or fail and that really…at the end of the day…it matters more that I simply do my best than make myself crazy(er) looking for the best decision…even so…I do it. I strut and fret my hour, my dismal hour, upon the stage…whining and worrying and turning the same phrases over and over and over again.

Making dirt, though…it’s very real. There isn’t a whole lot of thought in it; no weighty decisions; no carbon footprints or denuded rain forests; no political upheaval or tax implications.

Nobody’s God approves or disapproves.

It’s the sort of task that rather puts things into perspective for me – all those civilized things fall silent as what was a hodgepodge of weeds, trimmings, kitchen waste and ripped up paper becomes, one shovel after another, dirt.

Rich, life-bearing dirt.

It’s a humble sort of miracle, really, that looks all that huff and bother we call “important grownup stuff” these days and just…waits, for us to realize how silly it all is.

Not much gets more humble than dirt, after all…and yet…and yet…without it?

lemon blossoms
…not a lemon would grow…

onion blossom
…let alone an onion…

little green apples
…or little green apples…

horseradish
…or impudent horseradish bushes…

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…no pak choi…

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…or peas…

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…let alone potatoes! not inside…

blue niles
…or out!

blackberry brambles
…and blackberry blossoms could never, ever be.

4 comments:

Lindsay said...

Wonderful!
I feel all kinds of peaceful and content after reading and re-reading this post.
Thank you.

Colleen Mole said...

Tama, you make me want to compost. Hmmm...I do have a crap load of cinder blocks that I inherited with the new house...

Steph B said...

Amen and amen!

CeltChick said...

A wonderful post, but OY all that shovelling and wheeling the barrow, my back hurts just thinking about it. I don't even weed the iris beds, let alone plug in enough veggies to feed a small army. Let me know when to come out to do some picking though; I'll be there with bells on!