Dirt Under My Nails


I planted strawberries today and had a religious experience.

Earth, by EggerYou should understand that in my life planting strawberries is an extreme rarity, whereas religious experiences occur almost hourly. Posts like this one will be even more uncommon, I’ll leave them to blogs like When Isis Rises or Panthea.

Anyway back to my life. I love nature in theory. I don’t mind being dirty, I used to really enjoy hiking as a kid and I imagine that I would enjoy gardening if a) I lived in one place long enough to plant something and see it bloom and b) that place had land attached to it. So today when blueberry and strawberry plants arrived at my dad’s place and I set about planting them for him (he and my stepmom are driving across the country), I didn’t think it would be so bad.

I was wrong. It was terrible. I had no idea where the plants should go, no idea how deep to plant them*, if water was needed in what amounts and at what point in the process. I was pissed that this hadn’t been explained to me in detail, annoyed that I was surely going to be blamed when they failed to produce fruit – if they were even alive by the time Dad returned!

And then a change came over me. And even though it’s spring, not fall, here in D.C., I had Demeter in my mind. Suddenly the exact level of the dirt compared to the point where root met stem seemed less important. Instead I was, if not amazed, at least proud to have my fingers in the dirt contributing to the life cycle of another of the Earth‘s products. If the plants die – and they might yet – there are plenty of critters to appreciate their decline. On the other hand, the power of life in those things, while fragile in some ways, is also pretty friggin’ tenacious!

So, I will never understand the impact of the Eleusian Mysteries on the ancient Greek populace, but today I was glad that at least I grew up on the stories of the Goddess of Agriculture and of Her relationship with the soil-tilling men and women who worshiped her. I am pleased that we still find a way to remember and teach each other that not all gods live in Heaven, far away from the planting of strawberries.

*Yes, I realize this information can probably definitely be found online, but my hands were already dirty and I was lost in my own frustration.


3 responses to “Dirt Under My Nails”

  1. Well done!

    No, really – that was fantastic.

    Terri in Joburg

  2. Yep … I enjoyed it, too. And thanks for the shout out … I think.


  3. Donna,
    The shout-out was totally intended as positive! You include so much of the personal in your blog and it’s part of what I really enjoy about it. I generally avoid that here since I have a personal blog that captures that and because I’m slightly paranoid. 🙂
    I’m glad you enjoyed it, though.

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