4/14/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Dirt," by Deborah Tanner.
"I was a suburban kid, living near Memphis, Tennessee. However, I was reared by a mother who had spent her summers in the red clay soils of Northern Mississippi at the farm of her grandparents. On one of those trips to the land of gravel roads and rusty tractors, we were driving past a cotton field when my mother commented, 'Look how rich that soil is!' I remember looking over and asking, 'What soil? You mean that dirt? It's rich?' She explained it was dark, almost black, and very fertile.
I don't remember how old I was, but at that moment, I knew my mother must have been an expert on dirt, having had experiences on a farm I would never have or understand."