Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First Word: Suzanne Adam: Dirt

You sit on the ground shaping mud pies, squeezing the damp, gooey slush between your plump fingers. Mom chides, “Look how dirty you are!”  Dirt is now undesirable, shameful. Dirty face, ears, hands and feet provoke frowns. Dirt under the fingernails belongs in a mechanics’ shop. Wash, scrub, scour, brush, sanitize, cleanse, disinfect, dust, vacuum.

            Imagine a world without dirt. No fragrant soil. 
            Ah, this soil is so rich. You imagine the sighs of the sow bug, the earthworm, the centipede, the ant and the bumble bee. Dirt is our ‘home sweet home’ declare the snake, the rabbit, the mole and the fox, the prairie dog and the penguin and burrowing owls.
            We, too, cry the potato and the carrot, the radish, the celery. Our roots dig deep declare the lettuce, the squash, the corn and the tomato.
            And what about us proclaim the trees: lemon and apricot, cherry and avocado, the apple and the pear. Soil feeds and hydrates us and holds us upright.
            Without soil, says the river, where could I flow, what canyons and valleys could I carve?
            The horse asks: where could I roll? 
            Rover whines: where will I bury this bone?
            The squirrels: and my acorns? 
            And the sparrows sing: where could we bathe?
            Wild lupine wonders where she could spread her seeds. 
            Autumn leaves ponder where to lie and decompose.
            And you, who’d hoped for a loamy, soft forest floor, wonder where your final resting place will be.

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