Words and pictures from the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries
Sunday, February 23, 2014
The Smell of Earth
This is a repost from the early days of the blog -- and it's exactly what I hope to be doing today if it doesn't rain... On a day like today -- sunny and balmy -- it's easy to believe that Spring is almost here and hard to resist getting a bit of dirt under my fingernails. Realistically speaking, the ground is too wet to do much (I'm not complaining, not after last summer's drought) and we will surely have more freezing temperatures, not to mention snow, but still . . . So I make a modest beginning -- cutting back the dead crysanthmum and snapdragon tops and winkling out the chickweed creeping through the beds nearest to our entryway. The smell of the damp earth and rotting leaves is the smell of life -- I could imagine being revived from a coma by this smell. I think of the lovely scene in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, where Mary and Colin discover that, beneath the weeds and neglect, the garden is still alive. And beneath the weeds and neglect and dead leaves of my garden, the daffodils are thrusting up, turning my English major's memory to the poem by Dylan Thomas that begins: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees Is my destroyer. Thomas saw Time and Nature as inevitabilities -- the endless cycle of birth and death and rebirth. The rebirth part is very much with us at this time of year -- cut off the brittle stems of last Fall's yellow crysanthemums and there, curled tight at the base of the dry dead branches, are new gray-green leaves, waiting to unfurl; pull out a clump of chickweed and find, below the surface, the dry brown bulbs buried in the autumn are stirring, pushing pale yellow shoots toward the light. It's a nice way to spend a Sunday -- digging in the flower beds, thinking about resurrection, and intoxicating myself with the smell of earth.
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I'm the author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell. The series includes SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS in France), ART'S BLOOD, (LE SECRET DES APPALACHES in France,) OLD WOUNDS,IN A DARK SEASON (Anthony Nominee, Best PBO), and UNDER THE SKIN. There's also THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (a spinoff/standalone)chronicling the unexpected life story of Miss Birdie, one of Elizabeth's neighbors.
Currently I have just completed a historical novel, dealing with a massacre in my county during the Civil War.
I came to this weird business late (my first novel was published in 2005) and am still trying to figure it out.
As my novels are set in a place much like my real life home, I thought I'd use this blog to share pictures of our farm and county. I've been blogging for nearly nine years now, on an almost daily basis, and the topics have ranged from writing, chickens, food, books, quilts, flora and fauna of all sorts, to the occasional tiny rant. There's no plan, but there are lots of pictures.
There's more information about me and my books on my web site: http://vickilanemysteries.com/