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Tuesday
May242011

Delicious dirt

I spent my first day of summer vacation with my beautiful friend Jenny, volunteering at the Hidden Villa CSA. From 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., our time was spent weeding beets, getting to know the farmers, listening to the chatter of other volunteers from a local high school, and soaking in the deep, rich fragrance of earth and life. 

The intricacies of life fascinate me. I remember, during lazy summer days as a kid, how I would sprawl on my stomach in the back yard and watch the millions of bugs going about their day in between the blades of grass. I wanted to imagine what life was like for them; I wanted to know where they were going, what they were doing, and which microscopic hole in the ground they called their own. I could sit there for hours watching the bugs. 

And then we (my sister and brother and I) would catch butterflies and create little habitats in mason jars. Construct fairy houses (fairies live in the garden, didn’t you know?) with twigs and leaves. I once even dug them a pool, complete with a snipped piece of a ziploc bag so the water wouldn’t drain from the bottom. I thought of all this whimsy while weeding the beets, as my arms became a jungle gym for ladybugs and spiders. 

Possibly the best part of our day, though, was the potluck lunch that followed. With vegetables straight from the garden, everyone pitched in with a dish of their own. We had pasta with chard, quinoa and kale salad, black bean tortillas, apple crisp, romaine with a green onion vinaigrette, and fresh strawberries. Quite literally, the fruits of our labor. Straight from the earth, where the fairies and bugs and worms and butterflies each perform their daily tasks to nourish the soil and the plant life beneath it. Delicious dirt, indeed.

Our souls and stomachs fed, we left feeling lighthearted and deeply satisfied. My only hope for summer is that it continues with this theme of spirit-nourishing, carefree and whimsical goodness. If you’re in the area and happen to find yourself bored on a Wednesday, or just need something to do, I highly suggest you wander over to this gem of a place and lend a helping hand.