by Barbara Richardson
The three dozen
essays in this anthology explore and explain and celebrate
the virtues of Earth's outer surface or, to put it simply,
dirt. Edited by novelist Barbara Richardson, the collection includes a
wide range of writings by artists, scientists, poets and farmers
reflecting on diverse topics emerging from a common soil.
Contributors who could be labeled as "nature writers" include Julene
Bair, Wes Jackson, Edward Kanze, Lisa Knopp, John T. Price, Janisse
Ray, Jeanne Rogers, Donald G. Schueler, and Liz Stephens.
In her preface, Richardson refers to Walt Whitman's directive "Look for
me under your boot-soles" and extols the divinity of dirt. "Grab a
shovel. Hike a ravine. Breathe a dust storm. Reek like old goat and
sleep like Venus after a dirty long day. Relish dirt's unbiased
receptivity. Worship, if you will, the endless fecundity of soil. Or
better yet, fall in love. Dirt makes a resilient, astounding lover."
What I learned
best, and will continue to learn forever, from my 120 acres of dirt in
a high mountain meadow, is that ground, like all the best things in
life, gives itself up slowly, that in my twenty-two years here (and
counting... always counting), I have only scratched the surface of all
the things there are to learn. ~ Pam Houston
heaven for dirt - literally. Waht is it, after all, but stardust? Some
of it sifted just last night out of the cold, black intergalactic void.
The rest fell from the cosmos last week, last century, last millennium,
or a billion years ago. ~ Edward Kanze
elements - earth, air, fire and water - earth, or dirt, is
the one I knew most intimately. It mingled with my sweat, and I tasted
it when I licked the salt in the crook of my elbow. ~ Julene
I loved every part of
dirt, manure, and water that went into creating our prolific garden. I
also loved the dirt, manure, and water that caked on the soles of my
bare feet, which were often so dirty they looked as if I were wearing
short brown boots. ~ Jeanne Rogers.
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