This afternoon I was out in the garden, ripping out the wilted remains of plants. It was beautiful and warm and golden outside, the temperature in the sixties, late day sun slanting gold across the yard. But that's all changing tonight. The temperature is going to plummet, and the snow is rolling in. We're actually under a winter storm advisory as of midnight tonight. All day long people have been tilting their faces to the sun and saying, "hard to believe it's about to snow, right?"
But that's Colorado for you. And I hate cleaning out the garden after the snow has made everything soft and mushy, so I went out and enjoyed the sun. Most of the plants are already dead, so it felt satisfying to yank them free of the ground, to shake off the soil from their roots, and shove them in a bin or bag. The earth was damp and soft, and the effort was just enough to leave me flushed.
I had a fairly happy garden this year. I've been gardening in this spot for a couple of years now, and it just takes a while to get the soil healthy. As I pulled the spent plants, their roots raked through the soil, turning it over, leaving it mounded and soft. Earthworms twined and writhed away from the sudden exposure. Occasionally I leaned in to study what was had been hidden underneath. Happy, living soil looks different - dark and rich and almost velvety. I poked and saw tiny white threads, and smiled. Mycorrhizal fungi, baby. That's good stuff. It's this amazing network of fungus that lives in healthy soil and supports the plant life. Plants are healthier, the soil is healthier, even the air is better with a sturdy mycorrhizal fungi population. Microbiology is so cool.
I have been doing some freelance writing, which is not nearly as interesting as it may sound. Does that sound interesting? I'm not sure. Mostly I've been writing terrible little things for terrible pay. If you need a flow-through spa heater described, I'm your woman. This is kinda not what I had in mind when I thought about writing as a career. But the other day I got to write an article about mycorrhizal fungi and carbon fixing in the soil, which dude. SO up my alley.
The client loved the information in the article but wanted me to rewrite it. "Can you make it more friendly? Like a conversation you might have with friends or family?" The client has clearly never heard me bore my beloveds to tears on this exact subject. This is EXACTLY how I would talk to friends and family. Can I make it more friendly? It's a fair question. I tried. Waiting to hear back if they like it or not. I do a lot of that these days.
All of this freelancing stuff feels weird. Finding work, asking for work (this is awful), doing the work, getting comments on the work (this is exhilarating and/or awful), fixing the work, waiting to hear if you got it right (SO. AWFUL.), getting paid for the work - all of it, weird. In a very realistic "you gotta start somewhere" sort of way, I think I'm on the right path. I'm moving forward. Well, I'm moving some direction, anyway.
I was thinking about this, in the garden this afternoon. (Since I started writing this, the wind picked up, and now icy rain is pinging against the window behind me. Such a funny world.) When I pulled those roots free, it unfurled a complex hidden world in the soil. You can't tell from above what is happening underneath. Life spreads quietly and mostly unseen.