It has been a while since I have written anything. It is not that I have not wanted to write or not had ideas; it is just that after the disaster that was the year 2020 and all the pain it managed to inflict upon my life and the lives of others, I lost my way and was not sure how or where to begin again. The words floated around in my head, but the longer time passed, the more difficult it became to get them out. I had opportunities to write and when the inspiration hit me, instead of sitting down to just do it, I tended to other tasks. By the time I was ready, the inspiration had gone. It was as if I was sabotaging myself; making excuses not to write. It was obviously subconsciously because I love writing; it is what I do best, and it is what I enjoy. I would never consciously find reasons not to write. It is just I did not know where to begin and the longer I went without doing it, the harder it became to get it back.
Why was it so hard to write when I had so much on my mind to write about? For me, writing is therapeutic and healing. It helps me deal with life. Getting the words out in writing makes what I am writing about more real and sometimes that is hard, especially when dealing with the tribulations of life. I realized though that life will go on whether I write or not. Seems such a shame to waste the opportunity to do it and make a difference, doesn’t it? And so I realized I had to do it.
So, let’s talk about “digging in the dirt”. I have been doing it lot of that lately. Since mom passed away two years ago, I have been taking care of her plants and even added some of my own. I do not have a natural green thumb; I just remember what mom taught me, the things I learned in my Hort class, and googled the rest.
At first, it was about keeping mom’s plants alive because the thought of accidentally killing a plant that she spent so much time on made me feel bad. Keeping her plants around was in a sense, keeping a part of mom around. It was work as I pruned, propagated and repotted. I started a notebook and researched the names of each plant and how to care for them. Since I could not bring mom’s indoor plants inside, I had to get creative. In the warm weather, I set them on raised pallets under the big oak tree so they could get sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. In the cold weather, I set up a cheap greenhouse under an oak tree in behind my home office window. The house and the tree sheltered the greenhouse from wind and the cold. Now it is summer, and it is hot, the greenhouse is gone, and everything is outside under the big oak in the front again. There are so many more plants this year than last. I even planted vegetables; a few of which made it, but most of which did not. I am not disillusioned; I will try again next year.
My digging in the dirt has been a time-consuming venture, but it has been well worth it. It started with taking care of mom’s plants, her legacy, but then it became far more than that. It became about taking care of me. I get a real joy out of it and now I understand why mom did, too. It has been therapeutic, helping me think and focus, and has given me a sense of clarity and peace. At this stage in my life that is exactly what I need. I would highly recommend doing your own digging, and you will understand what I mean.
By the way, there’s some evidence that playing in the soil is good for you in more ways than one. Check it out!
Dirt Can Make You Happy
Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy
5 Reasons Playing In The Dirt Makes You Happy
Feed the Soul: In Chaotic Times, Gardening Becomes Therapy
How Gardening Affects Mental Health