Just a while ago, on my way to the garden to help with the resetting of some plants, I paused on the porch again, to look over the valley. A recent rain had intensified every color. Grey clouds, too, darkened the land with their shadows. Against the reds, the browns and the greens, the wet rocks stood out like mounds of dark velvet. Over all, broken only by song of birds or brook, was that hallowed stillness that comes after a rain, as though every inanimate object paused to breathe a prayer of gratitude for the drink. It was all so clean, so fresh! I found myself wishing I could say this beauty, as one sings a rhapsody. There came a feeling, too, in that moment on my porch, that no matter how hard one must work, could she, in raising her head from her labors see such beauty, that were enough. I felt pity for all who, pausing in their work, must gaze upon city walls.
Which brings me to the clean, cool fact that I do not believe that any one can live entirely away from soil and live fully. No story of mythology so appeals to me as that of the giant who lost his strength when held away from his mother, Earth. Only so did his enemy conquer him.
Some believe that the nearer one lives to the soil the more he degenerates. That which lies upon soil often decays, true. But the tree, whose roots go deep into the soil, the grass, does not. Nor does anything when there is an upward reach.
I, myself, never work with soil without a quickening heart beat. I seem to feel the pulse there that needs--as the air, the radio--only right forces to bring beautiful things into being. One gives into its care flower seeds and their beauty delights the eyes, their bloom fills one's home with fragrance. One plants vegetable seeds and the increase feeds his family. One gives it labor and diligence and patience and the harvest nourishes the soul.
The color of soil in New England is different from Iowa's.
"That looks like dirt," I exclaimed, as my husband mixed with the soil he was putting around the plant I held for him, a black substance he called mulching."
For Iowa soil is black and rich and beautiful. Yet the changing browns in the soil here are beautiful, too, and must be as full of good for those who put their faith and work into it.
Now don't form the opinion that I live in some kind of Utopia if your idea of Utopia is a place where there is no work to do, no problems, a place of self gratification , for this is just the opposite. On any farm there is work and trouble. (Nor do I know of any place where there is not.) I admit that the trouble with farm life is too much work and too little money. That condition, too, exists in town.
There has been the time when even I, loving farm life as I do, thought spring, for the farmer, signified hope; summer, work; fall, hopes blasted; and winter a time to be existed through to meet and begin again the perplexing circle. While I admit the need of money and the right of the want of it, I could meet a meagre harvest now with clearer vision, conscious of my spiritual harvest. Then, too, recent days have taught me that plenty of town people are poorly paid for their labor.