By Chuck Woodbury
I would like to write about my fondness for dirt. You may think that dirt is a bad thing and wonder why I would write about such a subject. The fact is, dirt is good in many ways. For example, it is necessary to plant a garden. It’s also the number one reason we own vacuum cleaners. If you were a vacuum cleaner salesman, you would like dirt very much.
I chose to write about dirt because of my dream last night. I dreamed of when I was a little boy, digging tunnels with my pals in a vacant lot near my home in suburban Los Angeles. The tunnels were like fox holes, which we would cover with boards retrieved from nearby tract housing developments. We would then cover the boards with dirt. We would create vast networks of dark passageways, and if we were lucky we could connect a few with a gopher’s tunnel, making for an all-natural intercom system.
Always, we would dig a big meeting room, where by candlelight we would eat potato chips and discuss kid stuff. It was our dark and private world, off-limits to all grownups. I remember one time when a buddy brought in a girlie magazine called “Black Silk Stockings.” We passed it around, wide-eyed.
I recall with great fondness the smell of that earth. I also remember above ground, when my buddies and I would smooth out miniature highways where we would “drive” our toy cars and trucks on the packed dirt. Driving has never been as good since: A kid’s imagination is better than any adult reality.
A few years ago, I was driving my motorhome through farmland on a warm summer day, my windows open. As I passed a farmer plowing a recently irrigated field, the strong smell of the moist dirt blew right into my nose. It was very familiar. I inhaled deeply. All of a sudden I was a kid again, back in that vacant lot, playing with my pals. I felt instantly happy and content.
So that’s why I like dirt. Sure, it can cause a mess, I know that. My philosophy is that you take the good with the bad. And if the bad is worse than the good then you buy a vacuum cleaner and go on with your life.