Writing about Dirt · 16 June 2013

I find myself wanting to write about the dirt for some reason.

Actually, I know that part of the reason for being fixated on dirt is because of pictures that keep popping up on our desktop. In these pictures, the boys are playing in the dirt of our yard when we first moved into our house. They are leaning on shovels or getting into the dirt. They are going country.

Which brings me to the second reason I have been thinking about dirt. The Alan Jackson song, Gone Country, keeps playing in my mind whenever I see the pictures. The song talks about people getting a new start in the country and having a simple life. It talks about an ideal that many people see in their minds even if they have never stepped foot on a farm. The song does not mention the hard work that farming is or the trials and tribulations that being in the country have, but it does bring to mind the romantic notion that being in the country is the way to live.

Even though I know living on a farm is not all fun and games, that romantic notion is deeply embedded in my psyche.

I never grew up on a farm, but I loved going out to the family farms where my parents grew up. I think that their farming roots are my farming roots even though I did not go through all the hardship and pain that they went through growing up. All I remember is the fun times we had with our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Our kin. Sure, we did a little work as kids, but mostly we spent time with our family playing in the dirt.

Our kinfolk were our friends and spending time with them was a big part of our social life. Our weekends were with our family on the farm. We worked and played in the dirt. We seemingly had weekly sleepovers there. We shared wonderful home-cooked meals there. In my memories, most of our good times and bad times were there on the farm.

I suppose all those memories of being on the farm playing in the dirt are where my romantic notion of going country comes from. Nowadays, our kinfolk live far away from each other and not many people live on any farm, but we can still have at least some of that quality time together. Whether it is with our relatives or just our own family.

When our young family worked in our yard to get it landscaped after moving in, we spent time together moving dirt. I remember doing something similar as a kid with our parents when we moved into a new house in eighth grade. We not only moved dirt and helped put in the landscaping, but we put up sheetrock and finished the basement too.

All those projects in the yard and in the house were hard work, but they were fun too. Or if they were not fun, at least they brought us close together. I suppose there is something magical about working on a project that brings people close together. Whether it was time on the farm or just working together, I have fond memories of being with my family. And working in the dirt.

The last reason I have been thinking of dirt is because of another picture. That picture is one of my grandpa walking back from the field with a shovel over his shoulder. It is an old picture that was taken by one of my Dad’s siblings and it used to hang on the wall in my grandparents’ home. It is nostalgic and makes me think of all the time we spent together on the farm. Working and playing in the dirt.

That picture along with the pictures of our kids working in the yard plus the Alan Jackson song make me think about dirt. They make me think about all the reasons I still have an idyllic notion in my mind that having a farm would be a great way to live. When it comes right down to it, I suppose that idyllic notion is why I wanted to write about dirt.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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