Dirt Under My Nails


Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I love getting dirty!

Oh my, let me rephrase that…I love digging in the “dirt” and getting dirty. Always have, be it mud pies, finger-paints, playing with clay, cooking or gardening. There is usually a little dirt under my nails (except when I am doing massage, of course!) for most of the year as I inevitably stop by the garden no matter what season, to dead head a spent flower or two, pull out some unwanteds that are encroaching on my lettuce or just see what’s going on under the snow cover.

I was recently laying down some mulch in the flowerbeds on an unseasonably warm day. I was kind of drenched in sweat (which is always attractive!) so any and every bit of dirt I knelt in or mulch that I tossed around clung to me like crazy. I wasn’t paying attention to my appearance as I was focused on getting the job done, but suddenly I realized what I must look like to an innocent bystander in the garden. Like I’d been rolling in the mulch instead of distributing it! This of course made me laugh out loud and relish the feeling of being a little grubby. I’ve got a drawer full of “garden clothes” that I can wear when I know I’ll most likely be at least semi-covered in whatever medium I‘m involved with that day. And man, those are some of the best showers or baths after a day in the dirt!

For me, getting my hands (and whatever else!) dirty means I am really in touch with what I am doing; with the paint, the food, the earth. It makes me feel connected and grounded, pun intended. That tactile sense is one of the many ways we learn and absorb, literally, information. It’s the way I learn best, personally. I can read all about it in a book, but until I touch it and do it myself, it’s not really part of my skill set yet. Maybe that is part of why I enjoy providing massage; to touch the skin is to begin to understand what it is saying and might need. To be connected to the person I am working with. Nice way to think about all of these things I love!

Hmmm…”garden mulch” spa treatment anyone? “Just peeled beets” manicure? Just kidding Judy!

What’s your favorite medium for getting your hands dirty and connecting to the world around you? I’d love to know!

P.S. Since my massage clients would not respond well to sand paper hands, I wear gloves when necessary, but I can’t lie…I don’t like to. That energy I so connect with feels a bit cut off. Except when I work with roses or raspberries, then bring on the gloves that travel up to my elbows! No problem.


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