My husband likes to get dirt under his fingernails. It’s in his DNA. Last night I found him outside on his hands and knees uprooting the few plants in our garden that had survived our wet winter weather.
“You will get better light here,” he said to a clump of strawberry plants before dropping them into a hole he dug with his hands.
“Why don’t you use a shovel or at least put on some gloves?” I asked.
I was met with a look that told me it was a ridiculous idea. Then he smiled. “Because the dirt feels amazing,” he said, crumbling it between his fingers.
I’ll admit, I don’t usually like digging around in the dirt, and very rarely do I make time for it in my daily life. But this morning when I woke to another day of birdsong and the creak of my old dog stepping down from his favorite chair instead of the distant drone of cars and the pressure of a to-do list, I felt the urge to commune with mother nature.
So, I walked outside in my pajamas and hugged a cherry tree. I thanked it for being beautiful. I thanked it for blooming in my front yard so I can see its millions of pink and white petals every time I look out the window. And standing there under its flowered canopy, I couldn’t help but feel a childlike delight as thousands of tiny heart-shaped petals were set free on the breeze.
No noise. No TV. No phone. No news. Just gratitude for the air I breathe, the juicy sharp scent of a freshly mowed lawn, and the pungent aroma of newly tilled soil. I became a tree hugger today and somehow it healed something in me that I didn’t realize was broken.
As we shelter in our homes, I hope we can remember that mother nature is still here, birthing all the living plants and animals that have been sleeping through the long winter. She is inviting us to notice her, enjoy her beauty, and remember that we are an important part of this remarkable world.
Be well, Kristin
I am not…
*Consider this 7-minute writing prompt by making a short list of objects you see in your home, then go outside and make a short list of things you see in nature. Incorporate items from your list into a sentence beginning with ‘I am not’, alternating with ‘I am’. I would love you to send me your writing in the comments! My own short exercise is below.
I am not living in the grey swamplands of grief.
I am a fresh shelled pea, greeny life shining through a perfect sphere.
I am not a fly trapped on the windowsill, nosing the glass in search of escape.
I am the ladybug who transforms from a hard-shelled beetle into a flying shimmer of red painted with pearly black dots.
I am not the groaning fan, forced to stand century at the back of the room, excluded from others around me.
I am the breath of an ocean, my tides gathering life into its shadowy depths.
I am not a book whose pages have never seen the light of day.
I am a page that has been torn, stained, marked, and saved because someone loved me enough to memorize my words.
Kristin Jarvis Adams is a public speaker and advocate for children with special needs, helping to bridge the gap between the outside world and the inner world of autism. Her speaking engagements have included: Seattle Festival of Trees Gala, a benefit for Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Seattle Children’s Autism Clinic. Learn More>>