Digging Deeper

September 10, 2012

Short essay by Joanna Livieratos.


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© Joanna Livieratos.

My husband and I left urban Chicago for rural Michigan, trading our two-room attic apartment for 25 acres and a chicken coop. Pigs would make their way into our lives, too, and lots of canning and freezing and dehydrating. It all came as such a surprise that we enjoyed it so much.

I was 30 when I planted my first garden. There’s something terrifying about that first leap, believing that you’re smart enough and strong enough and green-thumb enough to make something grow. As things have always grown. Who am I to imagine it? There in the garden, alongside bugs and powdery mildew and fungus, I discovered a primal and ancient me.

My garden would become a window to my deeper self. We are so many different people, deep inside of us, waiting to be found. I found a girl who enjoyed the repetitive meditation of a row planted in perfect symmetry and the ache of arms too sore to pour a glass of much-needed ice water.

There is peace in dirt. In getting dirty. In finding the primitive and ancestral. Thousands of years ago, the need to procure food was an inescapable inner drive. Now, it’s a drive to a grocery store. The satisfaction that I found from raising my own food felt hardwired, like a lifeline back to my ancestors suddenly visible.

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© Joanna Livieratos.

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© Joanna Livieratos.

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© Joanna Livieratos.