I moved my desk away from the window for the winter. In this old house with the thermostat set quite low, it gets too cold next to them, even with the exceptionally mild winter we’ve had. Moving my desk makes room for all my geranium cuttings, and now, my tomato and pepper starts.
But my view, my outlook, so to speak gets narrowed. Instead of looking out through the top of a tree to watch the birds, I find my focus sucked further into Facebook and the links to news articles and blogs. Even the picture on my walls have been hung to compliment the old desk set up.
My mood has gone decidedly down hill. Focusing on the doom and gloom of news reports has instilled a sense of futility. I can’t relax and enjoy light reading or TV. “How can all you fools be watching ‘Idol of the Day'”, I scream to myself. “Don’t you know how serious the situation is?” This only serves to bog me down further.
With the increase in daylight I have returned to some of my old practices. I am taking the dog for longer walks and using my cell phone to photograph spring bulbs heroicly pushing up through semi-frozen soil. I’ve replaced my winter computer wall paper to a decidely sunnier farm scene, which makes me long for our first farm home.
It is a picture of two ramshackle farm sheds with the green feilds rising behind them. Chickens scratch around the dooryard of one, and you feel as if a horse or cow might wander out into the barnyard of the other. Locust trees are filling out, and a set of grapevines are leafing out over the arbor. A dirt drive passes in front of them. There is so much potential captured in this photo. I can smell the musk of the dirt as the sun warms it, as well as the eventuality of new mown hay.
There is a microbe in composted soil that reduces depression.
Called “geosmin,” the dirt smell that lends the earthy taste to beets and carrots.
Cooks call this “terroir”. It gives regional foods their own particular flavor & odor
It’s the flavor of life.
The microbe M. vaccae, acts like a mind altering drug, boosting the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine circulating in the body. It works in the same way as antidepressant pills, and you can dose yourself by breathing in the smell of good dirt. (and possibly by eating fresh foods grown in good dirt??? The article doesn’t say)
So it turns out those wonderful, joyful days of working in the garden were not just the effects of fresh air, sunshine, exercise and a sense of accomplishment….it’s also the work of a natural antidepressant. I’m going to turn my desk around so I can at least watch my future garden sprouting beneath my windows, and them I’m going to huff some compost.
I can feel my spirits rising already.