Letting the Soil Breathe

Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest - John Lyes

Dennis’s friend from childhood, Ryan, is a special one. He speaks slowly, his heart shining through every word. His eyes twinkle even. He’s a writer and an encyclopedia of literature. And he once handed me a book of poetry that helped me through the worst of my journey.

Dennis and Ryan got to spend the entire day together on Sunday, digging out the front yard and replanting. Ryan is a landscape designer, and we were lucky enough to host his first installation right in front of our house.

The spot has been covered in hard, compact soil and rocks, and beneath that, a tarp. It’s no wonder that everything we’ve planted there has struggled to survive. We’d done our best to beautify the area, but the things we planted had nowhere to send their roots, no way to breathe in soil choked up for so long.

So Ryan and Dennis dug up a good portion of the area, pulling out the tarp, clearing the rocks, letting sun and air in for the first time in God knows how long. Then they filled it in with light, fluffy soil, first by setting piles, then spreading them out. You should have seen Ryan’s face brighten before the spreading began. “This is my favorite part,” he said again and again. As the energy surrounding the plot lightened and swirled, I could see why. He brought life and beauty to the doorstep of our daily lives, spreading the fresh dirt with his bare hands like a shaman pulling life energy from the ground.

The project is not complete yet, but believe me when I tell you that we can feel the difference their work has made. So much stagnant, pushed down weight has been lifted. Now roots can spread and life can go on, renewed and refreshed. Ahh.



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  1. Jo’s avatar

    I know the feeling Jenn, it’s spring here now and all the work i put into our little patch over autumn and winter is finally showing results. All the pruning, weeding, removing of cement blocks hidden in the soil, mulching and mowing is now soooooo worth it.

    We have new shoots, flowers, and actual insects in a soil that is alive and breathing instead of dead and dry!

    thank goodness for gardens and the end of droughts ;-)

    love you

    wait until the spring comes, your garden will bring you so much joy!

  2. Helena’s avatar

    That’s so beautiful, Jennifer. I could feel the energy, the life and beauty, all the way across the sea.

  3. jennifer’s avatar

    Thank you for your kind words, my dear friends Down Under!


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