Up until a couple of days ago my deck, yard and driveway were still covered in several inches of ice overlain by several inches of snow. In fact I was chopping ice on my driveway on Wednesday so that I could actually drive out of my driveway. Now I have mud. And lots of it. Don't get me wrong, the thought of spring is is always welcome this time of year- and better yet the smell of the soil. However even as a soil scientist who loves playing with soil, I have to say wiping mud off of my dogs is already getting old. It would be one thing if they just left it at mud on the paws, but like everyone, they are happy to be able to run again, which means dripping muddy long hair on dogs that all weigh over 70 lbs. In case you really want to understand what I am experiencing - I have borzois - look up a picture and then you will understand what I mean with dripping muddy coats!
But back to the wonderful smell of the soil in the spring - at least those of us up in the white and frozen north recognize it after the stale smell of winter! I remember when I found out what that smell came from and was absolutely thrilled since I had identified that smell with spring my entire life. I was, believe it or not, in graduate school at the Univ. of MN in a Soil Biology class taught by Dr. Peter Graham. Funny how you remember these little things, but when he talked about smelling soil and really what we were smelling was the actinomycetes it was just one of those things I would never forget. Who knew soil bacteria could smell so good? Perhaps I am weird or strange in that I notice smells, sounds and sights in the world around me that many other people I think forget to acknowledge in the busy rush of their lives. I put a rule in my own life long ago where I literally stop and look around at least once per day to see and experience what is going on in the natural world around me. Perhaps that sounds silly or geek-like, but try it. The rewards are definitely there for the taking, especially this time of year!
Next week I will be busy with traveling to both Georgia and Oregon. I am looking forward to talking with people in both places and will report on it here! In the meantime... have a great weekend AND take some time to smell the soil!