Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pick a Salad, Any Salad

Grabbing my basket from atop the refrigerator I head through the house and out the side door where lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, peas, beans, blueberries, pumpkins, and herbs grow. I realize I'm smiling.

"I LOVE picking salads from the soil!" I exclaim to no one at all. Bending low to the ground I slide my hand into ruffled greens; a thumbnail gently severs first one leaf, then another. Into the basket they go. Today raindrops from a night's quiet drizzle crisped the four varieties of lettuce where they stood. "Perfect!" Peering through sheltering vines I spy three perfectly ripened tomatoes, easily pluck them, add them to my heaping container of greens. Plus basil, chives, and peas. Delicious!

Realization that this garden grows and feeds us because my family and I plant and work it amazes me, makes me happy.

An explanation for my joy is found in my friend, James', recent Facebook post:
‎"Getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain according to research. Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression."
While I never knew the scientific reason for my sustained garden happiness, I have always known there is something good and magical out there, in the dirt.

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