What turns up

As Steve turned over the soil where our garden plot would eventually be, I lifted up clump after clump of grass, loosening the particles of dirt from the roots and letting them fall into the emerging bed.

I sifted, my fingers filtering out not only the dirt, but a world of other material as well. There were bulbs, no bigger than shallots, that someone must have left behind, perhaps not even aware of the missed opportunity for flourishing. Potato bugs rolled away from my fingers. Shards of pottery emerged, rising to the surface as if we had embarked on an archaeological dig. Occasionally, asymmetrical pieces of glass smoothed as if washed by the sea shook out of the clumps and fell to the earth below.

A spider appeared, skittering across the soft, fresh earth, stepping away from me as quickly as it could move its eight legs. Earthworms writhed up and out of the pile of clods, blindly diving back in into the cool dampness.

Even though the light had faded, the soil's richness amazed me. Maybe Virginia dirt is this dark under the surface. Maybe this is what Washington DC looks like down deep, underneath the monuments and the road network and the thick-walled buildings. I certainly never saw it. It took this move, this relocation to the farthest I’ve ever lived from an ocean, for me to dig down into a place where I’ve settled.

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3 Responses to “What turns up”


  1. 1 Debra May 19, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Genie,

    Glad you liked the mention at BlogHer. I try to write about the gardening blogs atleast every other weekend, though I’ll admit it’s been a while. Though with the big growing season coming on, I may just have to pick up the pace.

    I love the way the write!! Hope you don’t mind if I add your name to the BlogHer blogroll.

  2. 2 Debra May 19, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    Ah.. you’re already there. Welcome to the group.

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener May 20, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks, Debra! I’m definitely enjoying the BlogHer site. One of these days…maybe I’ll make it out for the conference.


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