On the northern side of the single-story house, was a row of bushes. Though they only stood about 3 feet in height, their full green branches provided just the right amount of cover from the street view and the house next door. Behind the bushes and up against the side of the peachy-colored house was a perfect little hideout for a young girl with long brown hair.
I took my daydreams and fears to this furrow in the dirt beside my childhood home. The smell of earth, dried up needles, and fresh air was a comfort. I never minded the dirt that collected on my bare skin and clothes. This and the fact that worms, snakes, spiders and blood never scared me…I guess you could say, made me a tomboy. Being outside in the dirt was always a place of solace for me.
Funny, that’s still true today.
My secret hiding place became a graveyard for a few beloved pets, shoeboxes their caskets. And this same spot was also my own private library, or den. Sometimes I’d take old carpet remnants out there to make it more homey, and sit and read books, forgetting time and space, and hurts and sadness.
In the dirt, I was cradled by earth. The earth, powerful, holding life but harmless. Safe. I was safe outside. Safe alone.
Funny, I still feel that way today.
I find myself longing to be outdoors. Outside and alone. Tucked into a little corner with the trees, tending my garden. There is a solace, a comfort, a peace, when my hands are in the dirt and my skin is dusted brown. Maybe it’s the heritage from long ago, the family name – Farmer.
In the dirt, all pretenses are gone. I am lowly and simple. I get lost in the process, the digging, planting, watering and weeding. The musty smell, grittiness on my fingers, the rocks and twigs and bugs all take me back to those moments, many moments actually, from my childhood. And I feel safe again, grounded, where I need to be.
In the dirt I feel free from the weight of all my mistakes, my faults, disappointments. Here is the opportunity for new life, for renewal, for death and rebirth. And even in all the elements, even in the harshest of weather, there is always the possibility of life again, and growth. The wind, rain and heat of the sun cannot prevent even the most fragile from rising again. All the yelling, the angry faces, the threats both physical and emotional cannot touch me, cannot keep me from rising again, in the dirt.