Where I’m From

I am from the dirt, and to the dirt I will return. I am from dirt that is cut and sliced and whipped up and turned over until it is black and fluffy, like meringue on a banana pudding, to bake in the sun over long hot days until it is gray and flattened, to be turned over and returned to itself for another hibernation. It is this dirt that mine have grown from, lived from, been sustained by, and returned to for more than two and a half centuries, and it is to this dirt I will return.


I am from the dirt collected on the bottom of cowboy boots, worn with shorts and a Superman cape; dirt pounded into the treads of running shoes, rhythmically beating mile after mile because I can; dirt stirred gently by the easy sway of flip flops; dirt that lives under the grass, where bare toes may press down between the blades and briefly, teasingly, slightly return to the dirt.


I am from the dirt of the Lost Highway, the Highway to Hell, The King’s Highway, Highway 61 Revisited, and The Highwaymen; from the fertile dirt that collects in a wooden box and is plucked out with tight steel wires, and to that dirt I return.


I am from the dirt that settles in daily layers on a bookcase, and through that I am from the dirt of a thousand worlds; I am from the dirt of Narnia and a galaxy far, far away; from the dirt of England through the centuries, the dry arid dirt of Lonesome Dove and the fertile, fragrant dirt of the Salinas Valley; and over and over, to this dirt I return.


I am from the dirt that my daughter grows in; I dig my hands into that dirt and plant a seed for her, with her; we watch chickens scratch and peck at that dirt; we eat blueberries, better from that one bush that’s closest to the house, and we smile purple smiles. I am from that dirt, and to that dirt I will return, so that more life may come from it.