It can be observed that some subjects, deserving of thoughtful examination, are overshadowed by others, more highly controversial, or emotionally charged (such as gun control legislation, a woman’s right to choose and immigration policy). One such eternally bypassed subject, meriting comment (notably, at this season) is our Planet’s valuable, life-giving soil.
The Summer has just declared a tactical victory; its sudden and aggressive campaign, encountering but scant resistance from an inconsistent, diffident, and clearly disheartened Spring season. If one were to implant a human persona on the past Spring, it would no doubt, confess great relief, finally to be replaced, after such an embarrassing and atypical three- month period. Continuing with such configuration we trust that it will earnestly aspire to a more acceptable performance next year. As a result of such diffident and limited performance of the expired season, topical subjects such as gardening, produce, soil chemistry, climate and tree health, were given short shrift, and easily drowned out by the din of other subjects, particularly politics. We look forward to a less equivocal performance by the next Spring, and the consequent resumption of seasonally relevant subjects such as, wildflowers, organic soil, rainfall, and tree health.
One such drowned out subject, admittedly, one not normally invoking heart-pumping, acrimonious controversy, [albeit worthy of comment] is that of soil and its existentially necessary function; a topic which is customarily overlooked or underestimated.
We are frankly disappointed and annoyed by the occasional employment of the words, “soil” and “dirt,” as if they were synonyms, and accordingly interchangeable. In accurate fact, they are as inapposite as the words, “friend” and “foe,” or, as different as the polar chemical distinctions between “organic” and “inorganic.” Soil (and not dirt) is a sacred, life-giving and life sustaining medium, without which our planet would soon replicate its inert rocky satellite, which we call the Moon.
Found in the upper layer of the planet, usually in black or brown color, our planet’s soil is deservedly credited with being the ultimate nursery for all known life. It is the permanent domicile for flora; thereby affording guaranteed sustenance for all living things, including homo sapiens. Soil is composed of various organic remains, clay and rock particulates, decayed organic matter, and has the natural property of both storing and releasing water. It is functionally, the (metaphoric) universal womb, credited with the birth of all planetary life. The Judaic-Christian Bible, interestingly, names the apocryphal first man, “Adam,” which is Hebrew, for “earth.”
Anyone with the slightest degree of sensibility, should find it aesthetically offensive, to use the words, soil and dirt interchangeably, as if they biologically qualified as identical twins. “Dirt,” itself, refers to such universally objectionable and unattractive matter as oil, grease, grime, dust and undesirable contaminants; with the potential of rendering man and his environment unclean, unattractive, and often, unhealthy. Unlike soil, it performs no useful function; to the contrary, it can have substantial deleterious impact on all life forms, including man, in the form of infections, diseases, allergic responses and other objectionable manifestations; not to mention the deleterious general pollution of the air we breathe and, indeed, the planetary atmosphere.
Recently, we were confused in our reaction to an agricultural worker, interviewed on a television program, who described his calling as “dirt farmer.” The subject distinction obviously, was lost on him. In any event, we would plead for mitigation of the sin committed by our derisive laughter, by reason of our uncontrollable and creatively visual imagination.