I Believe in Dirt
I believe in Saturday mornings with my mother. Waking up in the morning, the sun just barely peeking in through my curtains. Struggling into last night’s jeans, eyes still glued shut with sleep. Bad TV dramas while both of us avoid our homework in the winter, but in the summer we skip breakfast and take bumpy car rides. We walk hand in hand past a pockmarked brick road and a green bar door, down and over one block from a parking meter left unpaid. A skip over the train tracks and we are at the Farmers’ Market. A right turn for home-made bread rolls and our favorite salad guys. A left turn for the tomatoes—dark red, firm, heirloom not hydroponic—that I missed so desperately this winter. Another block up for concrete garden ornaments, picnic pies made for two, peaches, green beans and Challah bread.
I take a detour off to the side every other Saturday, meander through old women with skilled fingers. Souvenir t-shirts featuring Abraham Lincoln in the style of Andy Warhol, glass beads in intricate loops of fishing wire, bent spoons with tiny flowers and initials pressed in.
I leave that place looking for mom, spotting her where I knew she would be talking to Jackie, who always saves us a pint of strawberries. They compare older daughters: the words never change from year to year. I leave her too and walk through lines of flower buds on green leaves, visualizing the front garden. Could it do with a bit more pink or maybe a splash of purple once the Crocuses go back to sleep? Decision made and crumpled bills handed over, I return to her, cloth bag digging into my wrist, purse slipping off my shoulder, and my prize of Black Eyed Susans clutched in dirty palms.
I walk back to the car with mom, our bags of produce thumping against my thighs mimicking our footsteps. I reach into one and snag a small fresh picked strawberry, only out of the ground for a few hours. Bursting red and sweet on my tongue while mom feigns outrage at the theft before ruining the image by giggling.
All of this makes me believe in early Saturday mornings. In the earth that grows green, in good clean dirt that never hurt anyone, and in rain that most certainly won’t cause me to melt.