Some people resonate with the metaphors of dancing, some with onions, some with cake, some with water….ME, its SOIL. The above description of soil came to me in a moment of clarity the other day. I had the impulse to write and did and as the words flowed onto the page, I knew it was time to share my experience of soil.
It is in the everyday moments like this that new stories are born each day. The new world will be comprised of everyday people following simple internal cues that will all coalesce and change the world. The tipping point of The New World will be someone caring for their grandma or sending supper over to a struggling neighbour. The New World will be born from a child being willing to color outside of the lines despite what an adult might have to say. The New World will be born of a mother taking nourishing restful times for herself for the sake of it. These are all small examples in a really big and destructive world. It is with this, I bring you SOIL.
Soil is the skin of our planet. Soil is the micro example of everything on land. Soil and it’s health, mirror that of humans and the rest of the planet. Soil is where we receive a large majority of the nourishing minerals, bacteria and vitamins that we require as humans. Soil cleans and purifies our water and in some ways, our air. Soil is porous and permeable. Soil takes on anything and everything that we pour on or into it. Soil is not actually an organism but rather it is the code name we use to describe the Gigantic community of organisms that lives, eats, breathes, sleeps and dies there.
Soil is a community like a town, city or country. Soil houses all kinds of creatures that interact each and every moment. The health and safety of one organism, affects every single other organism in this community. If there is an over abundance of one it affects the populations of another. If one organism eats too much, it affects the life of another. If one organism does not perform the function that it is designed to, that affects the patterns of another. All of these organisms know the interconnection with their neighbours. There is Zero sense of separateness.
There is a very scientific explanation for soil. It has unique layers and types of materials. The soil in one place is different than in another. There are a certain number of years it takes to achieve certain kinds of soil. And for some….. one kind of soil is the same as another. MY experience of soil is so much more alive than just the facts. The cold, disconnected and dead facts.
Soil is the life blood of our earth, Gaia. Soil is teeming with LIFE to the tune of billions of bacteria per teaspoon of soil. There are more living organisms in a teaspoon of soil than there are on this planet. How’s that for perspective? Humans are but a tiny spec of the population that nematodes, worms, fungi, bacteria present. Soil is really a world within a world…NO… a universe within a world. With that type of expansion and reach, it would make sense that we should pay attention to it.
Soil teaches us that we are all indeed connected. That what is done to one is done to all. Soil teaches us that when we create webs of connection with many people in our communities that we become a resilient system. If a disease or an intruder shows up and wipes out one part of the community, there are still enough connections to keep thriving. Think of a spider web, now think of a triple piece of string. If I were to cut any one part of the three- part string off, it would fall apart completely. If I were to cut three parts of the spider web out, it would survive and potentially still thrive, because it has numerous connections on each string. This keeps the resilience in the community structure. This is how soil is. A Web or Matrix of connection. There is never just one community of nematodes or one of the earth worms. They are always found together communally. One feeds off of another’s’ waste and so on and so forth.
Soil is organic. It is a compilation of living, breathing organisms that live and die within it. The carbon and nitrogen that make up the soil all were living at one point in time. While “soil” itself may not be alive, the compilation of life that we call “soil” sure is. Organic organisms never stay the same. They are designed for change. They go thru a process of birth or growth, living, and death. Upon death, they become food or fodder for others to go on and grow, live and die. This is the cycle. They feed off of one another at every point in the cycle. They rely on one another for each part of the cycle. I would offer at this point that, perhaps, if we consider soil as the whole, that it never really dies, it only feeds, sources and sustains itself thru this cycle. It becomes richer, bigger, and better at helping that world above. The more that the cycle is fine- tuned, the better water, fruits and vegetables and air quality we have above ground. All organic life lives “harmoniously as necessary parts of the whole”. Each important, unique and whole…. while, supporting the greater intention.
When I am in my garden I am so lit up to see the insects, bees, flies, birds, bats, worms, ants etc… I know that when I see these animals above ground, that what I am growing in the soil, is teeming with beneficial life also. I have been in garden areas or on lawns that have zero life in them. There is a monoculture of grass, or the garden soil is like dust with no rich warm wet soil. This, for me, is a reminder of what happens when we isolate in community. When we choose the same thing over and over, or when we choose to only have one type of book or religion or color of skin…. These conditions do not lend themselves to resilience and growth. They are focussed and small.
When soil is “balanced” and healthy with the right amounts of sand, silt, clay and organisms…. It takes on water and allows it to penetrate it. The water does not run off or do damage, it is welcomed with open arms. The water soaks in and nourishes the life. There is no resistance. I think about this for myself and the moments in my life that I am not choosing to be mindful, the moments that I try to manage and control. The nourishing moments of my life just run off of me. They do not penetrate and nourish me. The moments and people slip right by unnoticed until there is a flood of stress somewhere that I have to “deal” with. In the moments where I am connected and breathing, those moments and people seep right into my soul and become a part of my inner community. I am open for life and living.
As I see the world outside of me as a metaphor for who I AM inside, I recognize the special and sacred moments of my world. When I see an ant carrying something the size of a grasshopper I think WOW, that ant is amazing. When I see bees flying from flower to flower, I see expansion and growth. When I get a fresh load of soil and can see the rabbit poops and worm cocoons inside of it, I think there is fertility and life. When I take the totality of this experience, I see CREATION.
We are of the stars. We are made up of the exact particles that each star is made up of, as is the SOIL. That is magical so lets celebrate it! Lets celebrate it together in community.
Lets celebrate that we are each :