You are the powder that fills my lungs,
the sticky clay that fills my treads,
in browns and yellows and grays and reds,
oh dirt, how I love you
As a little girl I played in the dirt. Of course. That’s what kids do. The Tonka trucks and tractors that my brothers received as gifts made for endlessly fascinating fun. (I won’t say how long ago this was, suffice it to say it was long enough that even my somewhat progressive parents gave trucks to boys and dolls to girls). We built roads and mountains, dug rivers and trenches, created whole landscapes in a few square feet of soil. Dirt was fun.
I dream of dirt. In my dreams I’m on my toes, my Salomons biting into the dirt as I run up a crazy-steep hill. For some reason, I never dream of running downhill. But that’s the best part, the controlled fall, the near disaster, the dozens of near misses, the… SONOFABITCH!!! … the uncontrolled fall, the jarring teeth-rattling sudden-stop, dirt stuck in my hands and knees, dirt in my socks, dirt rash on my shins.
When I was a little girl, I probably ate dirt. I don’t remember doing this, but I think it’s something kids do. I definitely eat dirt now, but never on purpose.
Some phenomena of the dirty life:
The Dirty Car– My Durango is not new. It had a previous life within my own family where it was kept free of dog hair and mud. Now I think with a few seeds and water I could make it into a greenhouse. Don’t get me wrong, I clean it sometimes. Sometimes I wash it and vacuum out the dirt and dried mud and dog hair. It’s a waste of time. It’s clean for a few days at most.
The Dirty Dog– The Dirty Car wouldn’t really exist without The Dirty Dog. Turn over the floor mats, make a couple of threats, and the people areas of the car stay pretty clean. The Dirty Dog collects a few pounds of mud with each trip, even on a dry day (see Clayton the Malador). The Dirty Dog very efficiently delivers this mud into nooks and crevices of the car that are impossible to reach with any vacuum. The Dirty Dog also helps with The Dirt Tan (again, see Clayton the Malador).
The Dirt Tan– It’s a source of pride. When my non-running daughter and I got back to the car after a hike I said, “Hey, nice dirt tan.” “What? What’s a dirt tan?” She turned down her sock and we were both impressed with her well-defined tan line. The Dirt Tan is faster and easier than a regular tan, cheaper and more natural than a spray-on or salon tan, and it doesn’t cause skin cancer. Unfortunately, it tends to fade quickly in the shower. A good formula to remember is Dirt Tan=Good Day.
Trail runners are not alone. Gardeners love dirt. Mountain bikers love dirt. There are dirt track auto races where the fans live for a nice dirt clod to the face. I mean, what’s not to love?
Carpe Lutum (Seize the Dirt)!