OPED: Digging in the dirt is good for your soul

RBC | Every spring, I tell myself I’m not going to garden. It’s time-consuming, can be expensive (especially if you’re just starting out) and hoeing weeds is one of my least favorite pastimes. Mostly, though, I’m terrified I’ll accidentally kill everything. I hate failing, and my plant survival track record is not great.

This year my seven year old begged and pleaded for a garden (he really wants to grow corn, of all things) so I found myself at the store buying seeds and “baby plants” as my children call them, hoping they’ll withstand my less-than-perfect gardening skills and give us some good things to eat.

We’ve lived in our new house barely a year, so we started from scratch and transformed an old flower bed along one edge of the yard by hoeing the heck out of it.  Two trash cans of grass, weeds and disintegrated landscaping fabric later, we were ready to roll.

We worked garden soil and compost into the existing clay dirt and planted everything just as the first stars were twinkling into the sky Sunday night. I am exhausted, sunburned, bug-bitten and my hands are so sore I can barely pick up my water glass, but boy, does it feel good to look outside and see that strip of beautiful dirt.

I think society has forgotten what it feels like to accomplish something tangible. We tend to forego the benefits of good, solid labor for instant gratification and pseudo-satisfaction.

I think the antidote for our frenetic, overworked, distracted society just might be dirt. Or flour. Or watercolor paints. Anything that forces us to reconnect with our senses in the present moment.

So, whether it’s gardening, crocheting, playing an instrument, cooking a meal or baking cookies from scratch, painting, writing an honest-to-goodness letter or sitting down for a good old-fashioned board game with your family, take some time this weekend to do something that brings you true joy.

I’ll be whispering sweet nothings to my seedlings and hoping for the best.