the dirt


For years, every time I was sad, confused, or angry, I would head outside to work in the flower beds. I’d bust up some soil, dig holes, move plants, tax my bones and muscles, and somehow after a few hours, I’d have peace and understanding.  As it turns out, I’m not the only person for whom this is true.

When I visited Kibbutz Ein Harod in Israel and talked to one of its early settlers, she expressed the same sentiment about her flower beds. And, truly, is it not what all those Jews in the First and Second Aliyah were doing when they headed to Israel — trying to find peace by connecting themselves to land?

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend about dirt and gardening. She and her husband just bought eight acres to begin growing their own organic food and raising free-range cattle and chickens. She had just listened to a podcast that talked about how important it is for humans to have their hands in dirt.

I grew up on farmland, in a family that produced much of the food that we ate. Now, half a century later, I can’t help but wonder if that wasn’t where G-d intended for all of us to be all along…connected to the earth, to the food we consumed, to the people around us, and (through all of those) to G-d.

The dirt isn’t just the matter from which G-d created our bodies. And the dirt isn’t just the place to which our bodies return when we die. The dirt is a place to which we can connect to truth, to reality, and to G-d right here in the here and now. Next time you are having a bad day, I encourage you to try it!

Shavua tov, jen

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