Dirt Under My Nails


I have not posted for three months primarily because I have been working so hard that my typical evening results in my crashing on the sofa in complete exhaustion and watching hours of television, mostly cable news.

I have finally reached the saturation point.

Starting with watching the psychological implosion of a television star, moving on to the blood-bath happening in North Africa, and now culminating with a trifecta of quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Japan,  I just could not take one more minute of it.   Today, I flipped off the television and headed over to an elderly relative’s house to work in his garden.

A little therapy among the tomatoes, radishes, and weeds.

I read something recently on another blog — and I apologize for not remembering which one — which suggested that physical labor can be used as a form of meditation.  I know I was not meditating while I was mixing manure into a plot of ground, but I can say that doing something as basic as working in dirt made me feel better.  I am not going to speculate why.    It just did.

Well, okay, maybe I will offer just this one observation:  as I was pulling up some particularly tough devil-grass from among my radishes, it occurred to me that this was the first time I felt in control of a situation for a number of days.   For a few minutes, that feeling of utter helplessness in the face of the current world crises —  not to mention a few personal ones —  disappeared.

I felt empowered as I pulled up those wretched weeds.

But then I went home, washed the dirt from under my nails, and made the mistake of turning on CNN.

Now, I’m doing some ironing.

L. Gloyd (c) 2011

Newly installed tomato plants,  a radish crop ready for harvesting, and new snapbean runners in the garden.



8 responses »

  1. The world has become a fear filled place and all too close with television–so much so that we curl into ourselves and can only think of those whose faces are familiar–I am glad you found connection to the growth of new life–Thank you Lori, Fran

  2. Yeah, watching the news can certainly be a downer and we can reach a saturation point. I feel so bad for the Japanese people and can’t begin to know how they are coping. I will do my best in my own small way to help them but I cannot allow myself to sink into a depressive state. I did once and it was no picnic. You found your solace in the dirt, a healthy pastime. I find mine in photography. Just to pick up a camera and hold it is a comfort in itself. Go out, Lori, and battle the devil- grass then sit back and watch your plants thrive.

  3. Yes, the amount of news we’re bombarded with is very overwhelming, especially during times of great tragedy. I agree about the control issue, Lori. When my mom and dad were both sick, the house was never cleaner. I don’t particularly like housework, but dusting and vacuuming gave me some control and a result that I could immediately see. Inertia and depression slip in very quickly when we feel out of control. Being in nature helps. For you, gardening was a gift from God to rest your weary mind.

  4. I’m finding release in house work too – I’m staying at my son’s house right now and doing his laundry and dishes whenever the news implodes in my head.

    I love your idea of gardening – doing something as life affirming as caring for vegetables sounds really positive. Generating feelings of love and self empowerment can only be a good thing during these traumatic times.

  5. you have said it all – the heart wrenching sights and the emotions evoked – physical effort of some kind, and like you, tis the garden for me every time, always has the power to centre me again.
    I think Suzanne puts my thoughts/feelings so well when she says : “Generating feelings of love and self empowerment can only be a good thing during these traumatic times.”

    Great post Lori and fab gardening!

  6. Wish I could get some dirt under my nails right now. I am told to forgo all my obligations and responsibilities for the time being because of my back. Is it time to plant tomatoes etc. already? Can’t imagine the price of the produce these days! Hope you have a GREAT harvest.

  7. Like everyone I am suffering from compassion fatigue and have found it hard to go on being creative. Turning to the earth is a wise move. It reminds us that there is always regeneration and regrowth.

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