I was reading another farmer's blog yesterday, and she was telling of her obsession with dirt: dark, moist, rich, dirt. The kind of soil that plantlings seemed to jump out of and grow like mad to produce lovely food for herself and her family. She also cited some research where scientists discovered a type of bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae which resides in the soil. Apparently scientists believe that exposure to this stuff might work as an antidepressant! This little microscopic powerhouse might also decrease anxiety.
So dirt really does make us feel better! After all these years, I thought it was just me. Back a looooong time ago, when I was single and living in my own house, my wonderful elder, ex-farmer, neighbor caught me laying, fully clothed, in my newly tilled-up-but-not-planted-garden. I was just lying in the freshly turned dirt. It felt so good. I had gotten off shift as a flight nurse in a really busy hospital and it had been an especially hard night. I had decided to change into my garden clothes and plant a few cucumber seedlings before going to bed. It was early spring and the sun was warm and there was a light breeze blowing (I was in Texas.....can you tell?) and the soil had that aroma that newly worked ground emits. The soil was calling to me. So, I laid down in it. The neighbor didn't say a word. He just watched me heal in that little patch of dirt. Then went into his house and commented to his wife how I must have had a bad night. Having owned a farm out in East Texas for many years, he understood the need to lie in the dirt every now and then. Now I know that I'm not the only weirdo who needs to feel the dirt in my hands or feet.
Dirt is healing.
And now there's proof.