The Wonder of Soil
By Jen Frey
I have to admit that I mostly do not think about Soil at all. Don’t get me wrong, I talk a lot about the Earth and grounding; but Soil, well that was something I just took for granted as always being there. Yes I compost and yes for years I even made humanure compost. However, I considered these great ways of preventing waste and feeding Plants. I had very little thought towards Soil.
Something that I really appreciate about ONE is the cyclical themes that help me to look deeper at an aspect of Life, to pause for gratitude for this aspect, and to learn ways that I can grow and broaden my perspective.
As part of a workshop with Pam Montgomery, we were holding a Fire ceremony on the Blue Moon. I was asked if I would lead a gratitude circle for Soil. In preparation, I meditated on Soil. What does Soil contain, how is Soil made? Who lives in Soil? The more I followed this, the more amazed I was. I began to think of all the Plants, Animals, and Humans who were on this property for centuries and how they contributed to the Soil. I thought of the Rocks and Stones who were ground down over eons by the Waters. I started seeing the miracle of Soil. Not far from my mind were the Dust Bowls and the Deserts and I was reminded again how precious Soil is.
Since that experience, I look at Soil with new reverence. When we look at the miracle of Soil, which if we are fortunate surrounds us, it is easy to be overwhelmed with Gratitude and Love of Life.
I keep wondering why we are not more aware of Soil. Why are we not taught about its preciousness or the miracle of its existence when we are kids? I think back to my childhood stories and I don’t remember any mention of Soil. Now I think of the Creation Story “Sky Woman” which I learned as an adult. In this story, it becomes evident that Sky Woman, so called because she fell from the Sky into our world, which at that time was all Water, needed a place to stand and to grow the Plants whose Seeds she brought with her. Many animals tried to go down into the depths of the Ocean and bring back Soil, but they failed. Finally Muskrat, said he could do it. After much time, he re-emerged lifeless; but in his paws was a clump of Soil. This Soil was placed on Turtle’s back and Sky Woman danced and sang to help the Soil grow into the Lands that we know today. There are many beautiful aspects to this story; this shows just how important Soil is. Important enough for Muskrat to give his Life.
I think, yes, let’s compost, let’s feed the Soil, let’s protect her and the microbes and organisms that live in her from toxins, let’s give Gratitude for the substance that brings us Life. And maybe, one of the best ways to show our Gratitude and connection is to follow Sky Woman’s example and dance barefoot on the Earth and sing to the Soil.
“How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it?” - William Bryant Logan