Deep, rich hues in so many shades of brown
Awaiting my shovel and hoe.
I dig into it and find
All kind of living things.
Long pale worms, small black beetles.
Things with lots of legs skittering away from the sudden exposure to the sunlight.
Compost, made naturally from last summer's waste in the big black bin that housed and protected it all winter
Mixes yet another shade into the layers
And enriches the growing ability
By returning to the soil that which came from it in the beginning.
Its fertile ground lies dormant, waiting,
Ready to nurture the seeds placed there by design
Along with the strays that fly in on the wind
Or get dropped by visiting birds and bees.
How simple, yet how vital, in its ordinary brown clothing
Soil. Ground. Dirt. Sand. Clay. Mud.
Earth provides the place for our food to grow.
It cleanses our groundwater, filtering it naturally as rainfall soaks in and travels on its way to the aquifer.
Our society treats earth so cavalierly.
Planting non-native grasses for lawns, then over fertilizing these unnatural breeds, sending chemicals into the earth that do not belong there.
Building subdivisions on farmland: huge streets and huge houses for the new owners of the land
While the rich brown soil languishes underneath the finished basements.
Waiting to nurture, provide, grow, produce.
And so I keep digging into my garden, in my small backyard, near the old downtown in the middle of our little city.
And grow a few tomatoes, some zucchini, a few herbs
Then recycle the plants in the fall as compost
To add again to the cycle
That re-uses and regenerates my little parcel of this lovely brown earth.
--written summer 2003