Healing Dirt

A few days ago I opened my email and there was an article from the National Institute of Health titled Powerful Antibiotics Found in Dirt. The writer of the article is none other than Dr. Francis Collins - director of the institute - so right away I knew it was a big deal.

Reading Dr. Collins's article reminded me of one I'd skimmed a few years ago about the superior health of Amish farm kids. Searching around on the internet this morning I found a not-too-hard-for-me to understand thesis, which also cites Dr. Mark Holbreich's research study confirming the decrease in autoimmune disease associated with farm life.

Years ago I knew a guy who said he found God in his garden. At the time I was living with extreme anxiety because my husband was on his second round of chemo therapy, our daughter was suffering with severe OCD, and my dad was actively dying. I decided to take this statement at face value, and I have to say that I did find God in my garden.

Here's what happened: Walking out of my back door to look around at the yard started a cycle of thinking about where to plant some flowers. Then I bought the flowers and planted them. Later when I went outside to water my flowers I would dig a few weeds. The weeded patches turned into more planting space. Later I branched out to vegetables and grew some tomatoes and peppers. As my garden took up more of my brain space, my worries had no place to reside for those seconds, minutes, and hours. During this time I also experienced a decrease in arthritis pain and a decrease in weight without dieting - not that I diet anyway, but still.

After twenty years I still grow things. I still dig in dirt on a regular basis. Growing little plants makes me feel better. That's what I know for sure.

Erica KitzmanComment