Everywhere I dig—and I am digging at every chance I get these days—I am finding something buried.
And that could be a metaphor for all of us in these days of stay at home orders and isolation. What’s deep inside is sustaining each of us, I’d wager. If we aren’t reaching breaking point, that is.
I’ve had a few breaking points in the early days of April, and then I got my first chances to plunge my hands into some garden soil. If you have some dirt—even a lowly houseplant—I suggest you sink your hands in there. Aren’t your hands a cracked and ragged mess from all this washing and sanitizing? Mine too. But they never felt so clean as when I got them blissfully, blessedly dirty.
So back to the digging and the finding.
First discovery was the flagstone walkway leading from our front door to the road. I found it a few weeks ago underneath a patch of thyme in the front yard and went at it hard for two days. Then last weekend I was manically planting ostrich ferns by the barn foundation and came across a brick patio (only 8-10 inches under dirt and shallow tree roots). I have yet to fully unearth it. But I have pictures from 1991 that show it in its complete glory. I just didn’t ever imagine that it was still there like some sunken Atlantis. I’d actually rooted around for it two years ago, and hadn’t hit it. Who knew something could sink so far in only 30 years?
This Saturday it was a garden edge of brick pavers a few inches under sod. It marks the edge of the old Wesbrook family garden. The garden we inherited three years ago was edged in concrete block. The brick pavers I’m finding show that it was much bigger originally. That’s good. I want a bigger garden and I can’t look at those ugly concrete blocks for another summer.
Gutting and repairing the house took precedence over replacing the garden edge in Year One. Year Two we were moving here and settling in. I scowled at those cinder blocks with every spading and hoeing in the garden. So this summer, Year Three, those blocks are going. And instead of having to acquire materials for a new edge, I am digging up the old brick pavers and reusing them.
And making my hands filthy in the process.
May you find a patch of dirt in which to sink your hands and heal your soul.