A Dream of Significant Soil

A Dream of Significant Soil

I’ve already titled a blog entry from this summer “The Life of Significant Soil” and that’s what I wanted to call this before I remembered that. I guess you can tell it’s one of my favorite lines. Since I can’t shake that title, I’m just going to abbreviate it so I can tell the two entries apart. I can’t for the life of me think of a different title. (Ah! I guess I just did. Dream of Significant Soil is a good differentiation.)

I woke up at 3:30-ish this morning, as I do almost every morning because, well, I’m pregnant and my bladder just won’t let me sleep through the night. I woke from a dream about soil. Does that seem weird?

My immediate association upon waking was that I’d been relieving that scene from the end of The Lord of the Rings in the Scouring of the Shire section when Sam the gardener uses his gift from Galadriel to heal the blasted land. The little grains of soil from Lothlorian renew the Shire and give great life to the land. My dream had completely different details, of course, but the emotion was the same. That same feeling of a gardener (was it me or someone else?) replenishing soil that had been leached. I was with a community—somehow that was very important that it was a communal effort. And we were living in this house that had walls that were woven, a sort of basket weave. And through the walls the wind blew warm and comforting with the sweet smell of rich, fertile loam.

There was one place in the garden where something had rotted and festered but even that was no longer foul and corrupted but now was life-giving.

It was a dream about dirt. About humus. Not about growing things but about the earth that has been prepared for their growing. About waiting for the season of growth. Spring a smell but not yet a seen reality. About turning the soil. About fertility. Perhaps about humility?

As I returned to my bed I suddenly thought of a paraphrase of the last line from “The Dry Salvages”, one of Eliot’s “Four Quartets”: To nourish not far from the yew tree the life of significant soil.

The actual line is:

We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.

And thus I am led by Eliot into wondering about a spiritual meaning. For I’m pretty sure the yew symbolizes Christ. But I think I’m going to leave it there. A possibility hinted at but unexplored. Left to lie fallow. Perhaps another day it will bear fruit.

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