Chapter 30. Hands in Dresden Dirt: My Love for Nature and the Beauty of the Earth

When winter snows begin their slow regression back into the earth, making way for tulip buds and new growth on maples, something primal deep within me begins to stir and itch. I yearn to get outside under the yellow May sunshine and plunge my hands into the dirt around my home. I wait all winter to experience the cool, damp earth on my fingers and under my nails—to inhale the heady organic smell of soil that is like nothing else in this world.

The time I spend in the garden and on forest pathways are moments of rebirth and renewal for me. Away from phones and calendars and appointments, I am absolutely calm. Absolutely refreshed. Absolutely myself.

Nobody needs anything from me. No one plops manila folders in my lap or spreadsheets on my desk. Nobody asks for a press release or a meeting time. I do not have to produce anything earth-shattering or life altering; I do not have to create. There are no decisions to be made in a garden; I can just be.

And to me, that is precious. Because what the earth shares with me is life itself.

Spending a few hours in the natural world helps me to feel centered and grounded. The strains that come from a bad economy or unavoidable layoffs, though always present, begin to fade into the dusk of evening. The sloping sun bleeds through a nearby stand of trees, calling out to the deer and great blue herons, the kingfishers and beavers. Leaving the safety of the forest and the ...

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