Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ancient memories

I love diggin' around in the ground. (I suppose that's why I got into pottery) There's nothing better than havin' my hands (or feet) in the dirt! Yesterday morning I hoed and raked the garden. The weather was absolutely perfect and the the dirt was too. I have romaine lettuce coming out my ears, and have unfortunately discovered that I don't really like romaine lettuce. It's a little too pungent. But it looks so pretty out there in its crooked little row, I don't mind weeding around it, and just leaving it for looks. I hope I have some broccoli soon. I saw a few little green tomatoes have made an appearance.My rows are a little too wide, but I got a late start and knew I wouldn't be able to plant everything I'd like to, so I kinda spread everything out a bit.

I like my tomato cages. I made them out of branches we had trimmed earlier. I think they look kinda "zen" and earthy.

I do lotsa thinkin' when I'm hoein' and rakin'. I was thinking about why I love working in the garden and why I love being a potter. Of course there are the obvious similarities, both involve handling dirt. But I wonder why some people enjoy the earth more than others.

When I was in high school, I enjoyed painting more than potting. I actually went to a commercial art school for about a month and I thought I would make a living drawing and painting. Well, that never transpired. (Not only did I never make a living drawing and painting, I basically never made a living, period!) But, my point is that over the years, I drifted away from the painting, but got more and more interested in the pottery.

I think that what I like about pottery is that it involves 3 of the most basic elements, water, fire, and earth. I like that.

And I think I like gardening because I come from a long line of farmers and my mother always had good things to say about growing up on the farm. I don't believe in reincarnation, but I do think that we retain some sort of sense of remembrance from what our ancestors did. I don't know if I'm expressing myself clearly, but I think that if we can pass along things in our genes like eye color, hair color, and things like that, why can't we pass along some sort of sense of what our ancestors experienced and loved? My ancestors were farmers, they hoed and raked and planted and now I do it too. And I think that somehow they passed on their love of the earth to me and I look forward to passing it on to my grand-kids. I had Jaedon out in the garden with me the other day in his car seat. He fell asleep. But next year, I'm sure I'll be yellin' at him to quit stepping on my beans and don't pull the blooms off the tomato plants. Yeah, it'll be fun. (I think!)

I think that what got me to thinking about that is a book I'm reading. It's called Speak to the Earth, and it's by a local Indiana woman who wrote for a newspaper named Rachel Peden. She says:

"A farmer's heart leaps up when he beholds a well-tilled, fertile field in any stage of production. If a non-farmer's heart leaps up at the sight of a field of ripe wheat or a cornfield sparkling greenly in sunlight, it is because in his subconscious ancient memory he associates it with his own food. A preservationist's heart leaps up at the sight of any kind of land...farm, wilderness, jungle, tundra, prairie, or swamp just lying there with no harvest being exacted of it. For true earth lovers the most heart-upleaping sight of all is the sight of abused land showing that it can heal itself and being given the opportunity to do it."

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