Friday, 27 May 2011

learning to move backwards: turning dirt into soil

the option to rototill the area for the Chinese Market Garden was vetoed on the premise that it didn't jive with our philosophy and relationship with the land.  so, as stated in the previous post, this meant 10 bodies were engaged in the manual labor of cultivating the measured area.  several construction workers in florescent vests offered to "bring in my machine for you", and couldn't comprehend why 3 women would choose to do this by hand (or foot as the case was).

so today, my chore was to incorporate the mushroom manure which had been laid on top of the turned earth.  as a solo meditation with the pitchfork, i was struggling as to how to accomplish turning the soil without leaving my bootprints on the packed earth.  when i was finishing the last 4 feet Andrew Riseman stopped by and offered words of wisdom: "why don't you go backwards?"  duh.  of course.  covering my steps with fluffy forkfulls of manure definitely did the trick.  sigh.  the garden teaches us in mysterious ways.  i love that my right leg and scapula/trapezius/ and breath have intimately learned the stories of the earth i turned.

so many beautiful perennial edibles are making their presence known:  rhubarb, asparagus, blueberries, figs (and my first ladybug of the season!)




are these edible?



  1. Djamila, it's interesting to think about moving backwards from a dancer's point of view too. I remember a number of modern dance improv classes where we'd get 25 people moving backwards at high speed around the studio and NOT bumping into one another. It involved using all our senses rather than letting sight predominate. Even without looking back over your shoulder, you could tell where people were by the sound of their footsteps and breath, the muting of ambient sounds when someone came near, and the feeling of heat from nearby bodies.

  2. PS: Do we have a fig tree?

  3. Yes, I do love the connection between modern dance and moving backwards. Also beautiful to think of the back of our bodies as the receiving hemisphere in yoga and also in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So much to learn from what's behind us...

    Susan- we do have a small fig tree on the southern perimeter. There are some really beautiful small perennials and emerging trees that I just discovered- they were swamped in weeds earlier this season.