Thursday, September 27, 2018

Now I Understand Why I Crave a Connection with the Earth



I have always loved being in my garden but never understood why I craved this connection with the earth.

It is easy to understand the joy of a  new flower or the pleasure of  finding tomatoes that have sprouted from the compost scraps I dig into the earth.

But why can my mood be so low and then so exhilarated after an hour or more spent tending my soil.


It has not been an easy journey creating my sustainable garden. The house next door exploded in a ball of fire and my own plants were shocked and soil impacted.

Many hours have been spent relocating plants and adding layer after layer of straw and compost onto the damaged earth.

But even that was an activity I cherished.

The blossom below is especially exciting to me as it is the first on the mandarin tree that was full of blossom before the fire but has taken five years of careful nurture to blossom once more.

You can just see the first little mandarins emerging, and I really thought this  tree would never recover from its fire trauma.


But why did I crave dirt, time in my garden, time constructing my sustainable food garden and the hope of a food forest. 

 

Even the fire did not destroy this urge. It was a strong need and something that seemed to drive me as I recovered from a third breast cancer experience.

After each of my cancer treatments ended I craved a connection with dirt, real earth, a deep longing I couldn't  explain. I had no idea how to make this connection but gradually began a new sustainable lifestyle.

During my first gardening efforts the soil clung to my fingers, they were perpetually stained black.

This does not seem to happen now, a quick flick of the nail brush creates clean, pink fingers, same dirt, but my body appears stronger.

I am only now starting to realize that my craving for dirt was part of my instinctive understanding that I felt more alive and healthier when closely connected to real earth.

 

 And now I understand my need for this connection had a real basis. Scientists are exploring the relationships between the microbes and bacteria in our soil and how they impact our immune system and feeling of well being.

 

Working close to good earth allows you to breath and absorb a wide range of  healthy microbes and bacteria which are coming to be seen as having unexpected benefits.


Further beneficial bacteria come from ingesting food directly from your garden.

Healthy microbes present in all living things are more likely to still be present in food eaten directly from your own garden.

We all require a range of beneficial bacteria in our gut for optimal health and fresh living foods give us more of these.


These studies are all very new and exciting but do support my own experience that working in and eating from my own sustainable garden has assisted my return to feeling healthy after the rigors of ongoing cancer treatments.

I do love just being in my garden. Creating something that has not only added to my own well being but also feels part of building a healthier planet..


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