Taking an inventory of the year as it comes to an end, is an exercise that assures me I have come to  adulthood. So, let’s say when I hit 40 it became a practice. I had the time, I had the sobriety (2 years old at that point.) , and I was, as now, always in my head. For me, it is 80 percent of the time a good place. The other 20 %, it’s hell.

Without further introduction, I want to chronicle 2018 in the most mediocre fashion I can. I find this amusing, as amusing as I find mediocrity.  Except for one rather dramatic episode, my hip replacement, my days were filled with dirt. At least until a very early snow in the beginning of November, that stayed as cover, the dirt is covered. I have 10 gallon containers of it though, in the basement,  growing some marijuana for myself. The other dirt is from animals, soot from the woodstove, dust, used dishes, pots and pans and knives and forks and spoons. The dirt is there and I wash it away, or grow and dig and replenish it. The wood ash is useful in winter on ice, it melts it straight away until 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and will stop a tire from spinning on the ice when you try to move the car, the car that sits in the parking space which may be scooped out, or just barely dug out, in a poorly defined rectangle open to the road.  When all the snow is melted, a layer of wet ash covers the ramped entrance to the house, and it is tracked in onto old and worn vinyl flooring. Which is white. Well, white with a simple pattern that is reminiscent of  those wonderful tiles that used to be on bathroom floors. There was a time before gentrification that for an affordable rent, you could get an apartment that was built in the pre ww2, with the original types of tile, and maybe some stained glass, and maybe a transom paned in brass with a pull string, and it still worked. That is why I picked that vinyl flooring, the pattern reminded me of a time when low rent did not mean something terrible. That was almost 20 years ago, when the house had been delivered and set on the foundation. Lo rent now means double wide, with land to boot. In the country, where there is dirt, and we use as much of it as we can, removing it from personal spaces, kitchens and bathrooms.

Dirt is my department. The dirt outdoors is soil, gravelly sand from the road, grass, covered with leaves under the trees, and these gardens that I play in, and make more dirt. All the dirt from the barn goes in, I mix it with the clay and sandy fill, I buy it by the yard and it comes in trucks, I buy it by the bag mixed with peat moss and perlite and mycorrizae. And manure, always manure, over the years it has been chicken, duck, goat, sheep, rabbit, guinea pig.

I was on my knees most of the summer, with a small hand spade and trowel , a fork, and my hands. Sometimes I take to wearing latex exam gloves to save my skin, it has been worn paper thin in places from years of dealing with dirt. I have been paid for cleaning other peoples, strangers, customers, relatives. That sort of dirt is useless dirt, and people should clean their own, but since they do not, I have always had work. I am retired now and just do that for us, the family that lives in the double wide on Tousant Hill Road. The family that is strong together, yet shares no blood. Most of the time we share a purpose, realizing that what seems like lo rent, with the land, would be worth almost a million dollars or more if it were near a dirty city.

What is wonderful about soil, it is as different from dirt as snot is from the mother growing in your kombucha. It is alive, and everytime I hold a handful, there is a galaxy in there. A galaxy that balances the organic elements withing the humus and leaf mold and sand and clay, balances it and makes oxygen for it, in turn digesting and excreting, alive alive oh!

In 20218, through the fall , late fall, and winter months, I have a set up with lights and bags of soil organic sea weed and fish fertilizers, cal/mag supplements, and trays and small pots, and I began growing the onions in February in trays. We still have about 10 lbs in paper bags in the entryway. From late summer on I sprouted Seeds  of marijuana, they take a ridiculous long time to grow if you do it naturally and dont clone and such, so, this plant in my grow tent now will be harvested before the year is out.

My old wethered ram passed this year. Many famous people did, but I did not know them. An old friend of Bill, named Bill, also passed. He is missed, and another, Allen, not a friend, but a friendly acquaintance, one that you meet in the rooms of recovery, was buried this fall. Bill passed in Spring. No next year for them on this particular ride, but I am sure they are already transformed and somewhere not too far off.  Myself and two other women around my age have had parts taken out, removed, scraped, reattached. I think I win for the biggest joint though. In more ways than one. I am no stranger to pain, but I am definitely a coward about it. The big joints help the pain in the big joints. And I enjoy the effects on my mind, very much. Especially in my profession, there is a lot of time to spend in my head. I know of every single spider on the main floor, and I vacuum  around them when I can.They dont mind, they appreciate me removing dusty webs. Spiders do not house keep very well either, so I am needed there.

My conversations with God do not go unanswered, but then, they are simple and awesome at the same time, as only a housekeepers could be. Giving thanks for the work, praising the miracle of the food that comes from the dirt, and from my creator who moves and breathes with me when I do good work. Perhaps they are to do with my age, also. As I cannot lift and carry and scrub and move furniture anymore, nor have a person lean on me as they try to walk and go from here to there, I do not have the capacity to earn my way in the world. For that help, my conversations are wrought with anxiety at times, so I figure out bargains, deals, contracts, to do as much as I can with the dirt and removal of it, in my own home, and to plan and create the meals, when I can, as a trade .  My conversations are often about the value of things and the worth of things, and often I seek what value I am , in all of this, the big picture, the “all of this”. If I am passive, and not so active, I am shown wonderful things about how it all works and fits together, from the teaspoon of dirt in my front yard, to the volcanoes on Saturns moons. Of course I am not seeing this, my weed is good, but not that good. But, I am knowing this. There is a sentiment, “Be still, and know that I am God.” That is how the conversation goes. And it can happen when I am on my knees scraping the corners on that bad , poor, impoverished flooring.

In 2018, I received a new hip. I am ready for the dirt that comes with 2019, God willing.