Later I would discover there were other kinds of dirt besides my home dirt. A visit to a beach was a marvel. This gritty, non-stick dirt, wholly unlike my home dirt, was restricted to two colors-wet and dry, and bore little resemblance to my home hardpan with its various greasy shades of brown, rust and blue.
The farmyard dirt at the children’s zoo was pungent, fumy. The spongy dirt of a cedar forest floor gave way underfoot; the prints left behind gleaming with water brought to the surface.
The dirt in a vineyard seemed not at all like dirt, but like little rocks, and rocks smaller yet.
Later than this, I would make the connection between dirt and life, that healthy soil was full of worms and other living creatures. My erroneous assumption that the grass around my ranch house in suburban Detroit was a blanket to keep the dirt out of the house was actually a medium supporting life- a mildly shocking discovery. More shocking was the discovery that there are people who feel at home with dirt, and others who assiduously avoid it. There were gardeners, and non-gardeners. Now that I am much older, I realize that even those people who do not garden, who do not love dirt as I do, can love, appreciate and respect the beauty of a garden. We get along fine.