Good dirt

When both of my sons were boys, I sometimes intercepted their beeline for the supper table to ask if they had washed their hands.

 Both of them would stare at their hands. “They look clean to me.”

Then they trudged to the sink for a nice scrub. They had spent the afternoon digging in the dirt.

But there may be vindication. There’s a whole batch of research going on extolling the benefits of dirt.

The scientists couch their comments in politically-correct verbiage. We’ve been taught for years that you can’t get too clean.

But now there’s research to suggest that exposure to dirt triggers serotonin, the chemical that helps combat depression. Mice exposed to dirt are better able to cope and seem calmer.

Actually, I’ve noticed the same thing with children. My kids dug holes in the sand, ran cars over dirt tracks, wore streaks of mud on their foreheads and cheeks (apparently not their hands, though, if you can believe the boys.) They were pretty happy playing in the dirt and may still dig in the dirt for all I know.

If life is heavy right now, go find a sturdy spoon and dig a hole somewhere. You might be surprised how good you feel afterward.

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