No gloves, no shoes, skirt above my knees. My hands and feet are dirty. I can’t get the dirt out from under my fingernails. My knees are stained from kneeling on the grass. And it feels so good.
I stepped into the garden in my bare feet and pulled a handful of weeds. More weeds than flowers, shaking the soil from the roots then tossing them on the grass behind me. Bending over, standing up the green staining my fingers, sharp rocks and soft earth greeting my soles, toes and heals. It all feels good. Focus like a meditation, only the weeds, not the flowers. Reaching under the leafy plants to pull the grass, yellow clover and purple flowering vine that would be pretty if it didn’t try to take over the whole garden. The sun the wind touching my bare skin, my hair, the smell of green, unearthed soil, blue sky.
Unopened mail piled up on the long table, dirty and clean clothes thrown over chairs, unpacked suitcases blocking doorways, boxes with the fabric of my studio lined up against walls, dishes in the sink, books on the floor making space on tables for pills and tissues, puffers and lotions, last nights sheets and pillows still on couch and chair.
So much to be done and all I want to do is pull weeds from the gardens. Feel the earth on my hands and feet. Like a baptism, this isn’t the dirt of cities and hospitals. It’s the dirt of life. And I want to bathe in it, taking a lesson from the donkeys who roll their whole bodies back and forth and back and forth in a bare patch of earth, a different kind of clean.
I bush the grit from my knees and wash my hands, trying to scrub the dirt from my nails, but I won’t wash my feet. I like walking around the newly cleaned floors with my dirty feet, slipping them onto clean shoes, looking down at them as I write, remembering what’s real.