More Dirt



Wet weather transformed my beloved dirt; I loved my mudpies in all their shapes,  like any kid. This was how I became interested in recipes for dirt, a lifelong interest that I would never apply to cooking food. I am sure a child invented the benign form of the word mudslide, and its action verb companion, mudsliding. Muddy dirt games progressed inevitably to dirty water adventures.

more-dirtBreaking through thin ice sitting in the bottom of a basement excavation was my first introduction to the notion that nature had its dangerous side, and why adult people build shelters.  A pounding rain would make puddles and pools, then lakes; finally there would be rills, gullies and the like; the water would run .  I learned to make water run myself. At the first sign of spring thaw, I would be breaking through the ice dams so the water would run- an experiment with gravity and grade that would go on until I was too soaked and cold to keep tinkering with my routes.  Walking on frozen winter dirt made as good a sound as rubber boots lifting off spring mud. The frost coming out of the ground heaves it up, changing its shape and texture.  The sun drying it out left it cracked, and virtually impervious to re-soaking. Snow covers it up-what a relief to see dirt visible again after months of winter white. The wind turning heavy clods of dirt to clouds of dust is as much a natural wonder as water becoming ice, or ice subliming. I have a particularly clear memory of a very cold fall day, cleaning up a garden.  At lunch time, I forked out a hole just big enough for me in the compost pile.  My compost cave exuded a moist fierce heat-a perfect garden moment I have never forgotten.more-dirt1

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